A new build of the Pixel Launcher app supposedly has a hidden feature that could be a major change for users. It appears the Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 has an option labeled as “Search Engine” which could mean more choices for Pixel users.
This news comes from a recent post on the Google News’ telegram which states that the new build of Android 14 has the feature hidden in the menu. When selected this option will allow the user to select an app to search the web for information, which will then be displayed when searching from the home screen of the app box.
This option isn’t implemented yet and is still in workshop mode at the moment. Google has remained quiet on the feature so far and it isn’t clear at time of writing if it will change the look of the home screen or search bar. This is likely all down to certain legal pressures Google is currently under.
Recently, Google has been held to account by the courts which accused it of holding a potential monopoly over the search engine market. The company has been called to action by several countries that have told them to let their users pick their default Android search engine. It should be noted that this would not be a major threat to Google, as it would remain one of the premier search engines on the market.
This option would be an addition to the already improved lock and home screen customization included in the original Android 14 update. One of the biggest improvements for Android 14 was that it allowed users to easily update and change their basic lock screen. This ranged from improving the clock location to even changing the shortcuts available.
Added to this was the inclusion of an AI wallpaper generator, something which both Android and Samsung have been pushing with the Galaxy S24. This feature works with a set of 12 present themes, which then have a set of interchangeable keywords that can adapt the screen to fit the user's tastes.
This sense of customization was the main draw of Android 14, and the inclusion of Search engine choices would be a major addition to that. It should also be noted that this is not the only time that Google has done something similar. A recent leak found that there was a line of code that could indicate Chat GPT being able to replace Google Assistant.
The reasoning behind this isn’t massively important and, if the feature is included, it likely won’t change much for the average user. However, it is an interesting choice to see, and it could help to make the relatively minor Android 14 update slightly more interesting than it currently does. We shall keep our eyes open in the meantime to see if it is offered to users in the coming weeks.
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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.