Last year, Google brought some of their signature homepage “Doodles” to the home screen search bar of Pixel phones. Now, it looks like Google may be bringing those same Doodles to non-Pixel Android phones in the near future, starting with a “Lab” experiment.
Last week, Google Labs made a comeback in the Google Search app for Android, offering a chance to preview work-in-progress features like pinch-to-zoom on search results. At launch, the available Labs features were fairly tame, or were already rolling out. Over the weekend, Google turned on the option for a third Lab, given the straightforward name “Search Widget Doodles.”
For Google Pixel owners, this is a familiar feature, as the Pixel Launcher’s built-in search widget will occasionally animate that day’s Doodle into place over the usual Google G seen on the home screen. These mini Doodles have included all manner of things including baseballs, guitars, pretzels, and snow globes.
However, the new “Search Widget Doodles” Lab can be seen on any Android phone, not just Pixels, as our Ryan Kovatch confirmed the Lab on his OnePlus 6T. Considering Google is more than capable of detecting when you’re using a Pixel phone — and the Pixel Launcher has its own way to enable and disable doodles — it seems likely that Doodles are coming to more Androids.
Since the Lab’s arrival, no Google Doodles have been displayed on the Pixel or Android home screen widget, making it hard to know how exactly the feature works. From the “Learn More” link, we at least know you’ll need to restart your phone after turning on Search Widget Doodles.
Presumably, future Doodles will then appear in the Google app’s “Search” widget. We’ll be keeping a watchful eye for the next few Google Doodles to see if and when the Doodle reaches the home screens of more Android phones.
The Google app’s “Labs” page is still in the process of rolling out to devices, and may not yet be available on your phone. To find the list of currently available Google Labs, open the Google app, tap More, then look for the Labs option.
More on Android:
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- Chrome for Android tests new share menu w/ QR code and screenshot sharing
- You can now customize your Android 10 gesture experience with gesturePlus
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