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Google app A/B testing tweaked Search bars on Android

Over the past several weeks, Google has been A/B testing tweaks to the search field on its iconic homepage. Those changes are now being tested on Android with the latest Google app beta.

There are a handful of design variants for this Google Search test on Android, but all focus on the pill-shaped bar at the top of the main Discover tab. With faint gray outlines, the current behavior is a “Say Hey Google” prompt next to the voice search icon.

One iteration we spotted features a gray magnifying glass at the very left that’s followed by an “Ask any question” prompt. Google has also been testing that icon on the web and more widely on desktop Chrome’s New Tab page, with the company likely moving to unify the experience across platforms.

One small detail involves the text fading in as you open the Google app to attract your attention. This effect also happens when users navigate away and then back to the tab.


Meanwhile, another design we spotted features a blinking cursor in the search field. An element more commonly found on desktops, this small indicator would likely get annoying, but would definitely succeed in attracting your attention.

The focus here is on looking up queries rather than voice, with Google recently adding a carousel of past search terms to improve the mobile experience. Despite the ubiquity of Search, Google clearly still wants to emphasize and encourage usage.

Neither of these Google Search tests on Android are widely rolled out even on the latest Google app beta from last week.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: