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Google could borrow Samsung's ideas for the Android taskbar

Samsung and other brands offer some of these features already, but we're still glad to see them come to stock Android.

Published onAugust 15, 2023

  • Google is reportedly working on several taskbar-related improvements for Android.
  • One of the most prominent additions is a search bar in the taskbar.
  • Stock Android could also gain a few taskbar capabilities seen in other Android skins.

Google introduced Android 12L over a year ago, targeting tablets and foldable phones. One of the main additions was a taskbar, enabling improved multitasking and a more PC-like experience.

Now, Android expert Mishaal Rahman has revealed via his Patreon account that a couple of big changes are coming to the taskbar.

For starters, Rahman confirmed that a search bar is coming to the taskbar. However, it doesn’t look like the search bar will actually reside in the taskbar itself like Windows but rather in the taskbar’s app drawer (see the featured image above).

This is only meant for locally installed apps though, so you can’t search for files and conduct a web search via this option.

Stock Android catching up to OEMs

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Toolbar 2
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Rahman also revealed that work is underway to add recent apps to the taskbar. For what it’s worth, Fold-style devices from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, and vivo already show recent apps in the taskbar. But we’re guessing this is an official Google/AOSP implementation that would bring the features to all manufacturers. In saying so, code references suggest that recent apps would only be shown when in desktop mode.

The Android expert also notes that Google is working to let you switch between a permanent and transient taskbar. He adds that you can tap and hold on the permanent taskbar to make it transient or tap and hold on the area where the taskbar would be to make it permanent.

Again, we’ve already seen foldable phones from some brands allowing you to choose between a permanent and transient taskbar. But a Google implementation would theoretically bring this functionality to all OEMs without any extra work. This would therefore still be a win for the Android ecosystem at large.

Either way, Rahman suggests that we might only see these features go live as soon as the Android 14 QPR1 release, which would be the December 2023 feature drop. So don’t hold your breath for these additions when stable Android 14 rolls around.

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