There’s a search widget on the homescreen of almost every Android smartphone and, for a long time, it was able to search both Google and the data stored on your phone and in your account. However, it appears that results for the latter are starting to be buried in the Google app as the Search widget hides personal results.

Changed sometime in the past several weeks and highlighted by Android Police, this change alters the behavior of Google Search widget and app on Android. Previously, users could search for content stored on their device, in their contacts, Gmail, and even some apps using that search function.

Over the past few months, Google has apparently slowly been removing personal results from Search –  specifically from the autocomplete page. Earlier this year, Google stopped showing contact results in the autocomplete section. At the time, the company said this was essentially because people weren’t using it very much.

Now, though, more personal results are gone in the Google Search app on Android. This includes calendar apps, emails, search history, and more. Even third-party apps that could tie into this feature such as Todoist no longer work.

Notably, though, some personal results are still accessible through the actual search results themselves. For example, searching for a contact’s name will show a card mixed in with the search results which shows that contact. The same applies to Gmail and some other info.

Before (left) and after (middle, right)

Why has this been removed? It’s not entirely clear why, but lack of use as mentioned back in August could be a contributing factor. Changes to that widget due to regulatory concerns may also play a role. Alternatively, Google Assistant could have been another factor as it can handle much of this workload. As Android Police mentions, though, that requires an internet connection where personal results in the Google Search app did not.

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Ben Schoon

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