The legal battles draw blood as Apple succeeds in forcing Google and its partners to remove a feature. It is quite funny and ironic that the company who is practically synonymous to search is forced to remove a search feature in their device.
In a recent Apple lawsuit in the US against the Samsung Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy SIII, it has been ruled that Samsung and Google have been in breach of a patent allowing the device to perform a local search within the device and its installed applications.
Local search is a feature that can search for apps, contacts and other details within the device when using the built-in search bar in Google devices. Apparently, Apple owns that particular invention, despite the fact that computers, digital assistants as well as previous phones have had such a feature within the device. It is rather common to allow a basic computing device to be able to search within itself and not only through the internet.
Still, the Patent office seems to believe that Apple deserved this patent, and thus it was awarded. The Judge also sees that it was an infringing technology, and has warranted a ban on the Galaxy Nexus, as well as other devices from Samsung that uses this feature.
To work around this ban, and continue selling the device in US shores, Google saw it fit to simply remove the local search function through an update. It could be temporary, until they find another way to implement the search, or it could be permanently lost for all future Android devices.
Carriers of the Samsung Galaxy SIII understood that an update to remove the feature was necessary, they resorted to silent “stability” or ‘security” updates and removed the local search function from locked Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy SIII.
It is understandable that this feature was removed in US shores, because that is where the ban was ruled, but it would seem that Samsung has made an international preventive move. Samsung has been the #1 target of Apple’s litigation war against Android devices. That is why they are sure that Apple will strike again in other countries and target once more the local search function.
Samsung has issued an update that has silently removed the local search function from all Samsung Galaxy SIII devices. The update was introduced as a “stability” update. True enough; members of the XDA forums have claimed that the update indeed improved the stability of the device. People are saying that device was faster, more responsive and more stable than the previous version. It has also cured the Samsung Galaxy SIII of a problematic issue experienced by some members – the crackling sound when playing music.
Both in the US, as well as the rest of the world, fans of the Galaxy Nexus, as well as the Samsung Galaxy SIII, have faced this issue differently. There are users who simply felt the local search function was an annoyance that they were glad to be rid of. Meanwhile, owners of these devices who used the local search pretty often have made outcries in the net at how annoyed they are that the feature is gone.
If you are one of the latter, hope is not lost. The developers in XDA have figured out how to return the function back to the devices despite the update. At times like this, people can truly appreciate the open source nature of Android, as features can be removed and restored easily. In the end, the forced removal of the local search function bolstered the Android device owner’s power of choice. They can let it be or they can install it back. What will be your choice today?
Image sources: androidandme.com, technobuffalo.com, evolvingtimes.com