More of the content we’re looking for is saved in mobile applications, which is why Google has been working to bring that information to the surface by indexing apps in search. Now, it will do the same thing on your phone, too. The company is introducing a new search mode in its Google app called “In Apps,” which will allow you to search inside your mobile applications for things like contacts, messages, music, videos, tasks, notes and more.
For example, Google suggests you could use the “In Apps” search mode to find something you and a friend were chatting about several weeks ago in one of your messages threads – like the name of a new restaurant. Or you could use the search feature to pull up your favorite song in a music streaming app, or a video from YouTube.
Currently, “In Apps” search only works with Gmail, Spotify and YouTube, but Google says it’s working on adding Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Evernote, Glide, Todoist, and Google Keep in the coming months.
Unlike Google searches, which take place on remote servers, this “In Apps” search takes place entirely on your phone, the company says. That means your private information is not sent to Google, and you can perform searches even when you’re offline. You can also configure which apps will appear by going to the Google App’s Settings and toggling the various apps on or off.
Google has already been working to bring in-app content to search by way of its app indexing project, which was expanded last year to include apps that didn’t also have matching web content. It even rolled out a search feature that let you stream the app from a virtual machine when you didn’t have it installed on your device.
However, some of the content in apps is not the kind of thing a standard Google query can locate – While you can easily pull up a hotel’s rate or today’s weather, personal content like your grocery list or a message to a friend is not indexed. To bring that into the Google Search app, the app has to be able to dive into the mobile operating itself, which is why this feature is currently only available on Android.
Google also notes that the upcoming LG V20 phone will be the first phone to offer a dedicated shortcut on the homescreen and Second Screen to the new “In Apps” mode.