The Google app on Android has gone through numerous changes over the past year, now offering a Discover section to bring you the latest news and Updates section to serve you relevant info. This section also makes the Google Assistant and Google Lens accessible to users. However, Google wants these features to be more easily accessible to users and is bringing them to the Search widget.
Google seems to be testing a new Search widget, where the voice search icon has been replaced with the Discover and Lens icons. This means the company is trying to make it easier for users to use Lens and open the Discover section (especially those who cannot access the same with a swipe on the home screen). The Lens option has been hidden in Google Assistant for the longest time, but it could finally get a permanent placement on your Android homescreen.
Though it’s only a test for now, Google could be looking to demote voice search from the home screen as you already have access to Assistant via your home button and the ‘Hey Google’ hotword.
While Google Assistant is easily accessible, Google voice search will become a hassle with this change. You can no longer tap a single button in the widget to query Google. Instead, you will have to tap the search bar and then tap on the microphone icon or type out your query.
The search widget has mostly remained unchanged, except for it being turned into a pill some years back and its placement switched to the very bottom. Google has now put a Google Assistant icon on the search bar and sometimes you can expect to see animated Doodles on the same too.