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Google testing new search features: recent, trending, nearby

When tapping the Google search bar on the home screen, rather than seeing a list of recent search terms, some users are now seeing Recent Searches, What’s Hot and Nearby.

Published onJanuary 12, 2016

Google Now search change

Over on Reddit, a couple of Redditors have seen a slight change to the Google Now search feature. When tapping the search bar on the home screen, rather than seeing a list of recent search terms, the change now shows recent searches, what’s trending on Google and nearby places.

It’s not entirely clear if the change is a server-side A/B test or if it is somehow tied up with the January security patch. The Redditors that are seeing the change all have the January patch, but this could just be coincidence.

Google Now search change screenshots

Previously, tapping the search bar brought up a half dozen or so of your most recent search terms. The new change lists only the most recent phrase, then shows Recent Searches, What’s Hot and Nearby. The first of these is simply what you used to see, the second is trending search topics on Google and the third brings up shortcuts to nearby ATMs, gas stations, cafes and so on.

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Whether this change will arrive to everyone eventually is hard to say, but those that like seeing a quick list of recent searches are likely to be annoyed by the addition of an extra step. Having quicker access to trending search terms on Google is kind of cool but finding things in your vicinity is pretty much what Google voice search is for, isn’t it?

Have you seen this change in your Google search bar? Are you a fan or not so much?