Google took a leaf out of Apple's Spotlight book and implemented a novel feature that permits Android handset users to search their phones for content instead of going into the web.
The company recently announced that Android smartphone users can locate content inside applications via the new "In Apps" search tab.
Google presented the enhancement to its mobile OS on its Inside Search blog, and it is paired with a GIF illustration of how it actually works.
The search engine company points out that the feature plays nice with Spotify, YouTube and Gmail but promises that in the near future additional app support will be added for various software such as LinkedIn, Facebook Messenger, Google Keep, Evernote, Todoist and Glide.
An extra perk of the app search is that it works locally on your phone, which means that being linked to an internet connection is not mandatory for it to work. This detail is noteworthy, as it strays away from the current search supported by Google, which requires an internet connection.
At the moment, Google packs Firebase App Indexing, which some of you might know as Google App Indexing. The system allows app developers and publishers to enable those searching Google for general information to jump directly into apps.
For example, if a user searches on Google, this specific type of app indexing permits him/her to view the respective content within the apps installed in their phone. One asset of using the "In Apps" search is that it is device-specific, meaning that you can look for content located inside your gadget - such as conversations and tasks - instead of content that resides on the web.
It should be mentioned that Android had a few areas where it lacked behind iOS, and the new search feature helps Android phones catch up to their Apple rivals. It remains to be seen whether "In Apps" behaves just as well as Apple's Spotlight.
Google announced that the upcoming LG V20 will feature a shortcut for In App search, which should land on other Android devices in due time.
One reason such a shortcut is a welcome addition is that users may quickly do a web search to reach the In Apps function.
Android phone owners who do not get the shortcut immediately should not fret, as In Apps is easily accessible by launching the Google app on Android. Another way to tap into its potential is by doing a search using the Google bar widget that comes pre-installed into most Android phones.