A staple of the Android operating system, Google's Search Bar has proven to be a handy everyday tool to have around. But despite its years of existence, there are still some valuable features missing — even more so with some recently updated Samsung Galaxy devices. Veveo, which provides universal search technology for all Nokia MeeGo and Symbian devices, has created the vtap QuickSearch app, that not only matches the default search bar's functionality but adds a number of features along the way.
The vtap QuickSearch interface is not an attractive one, in fact, its aesthetics more closely resemble Android 2.3 Gingerbread than the clean look of a holo-themed app. The company tells us that it will eventually get a facelift, but recognizes that a vast majority of Android users still have pre-4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich versions of the operating system on their devices. Comparing its appearance to Jelly Bean's Google Now isn't even fair, but what it lacks in form it makes up in functionality. When you first load up the app, it takes a couple of minutes to index your device in order to search more efficiently, but once that's done, it flies.
Opening up the app or tapping on its widget will pop up a search bar and a list of your most recently viewed items. Start typing a word and results will start populating instantly, and this is where the app's usefulness shines. In addition to providing contacts, apps, and quick access to a Google web search, QuickSearch will also include text messages, apps in the Google Play store, Wikipedia and Wiktionary entries, nearby locations, folders, and device utilities. Amazon Appstore and Fandago results would occasionally pop up as well, but their presence was sporadic at best. Unfortunately, the app was unable to detect loaded songs and movies on my Galaxy Nexus (running 4.1) and Nexus 7 like Google's Search Bar does, despite Veveo listing it as one of the product's features.
In regards to the current legal dispute affecting universal search on some Samsung devices, a Veveo spokesperson told us that the company "takes a fundamentally different approach with regards to the method of merging the on-device dataspaces and the network dataspaces. In fact, we indemnify our OEM partners for such issues. Veveo has over 30 patents issued relating to search and personalization."
Depending on what version of Android you're using, you may be stuck with Google's Search Bar on your home screens, which would unfortunately make the vtap QuickSearch widget a bit redundant. Additionally, you may already have your most used apps and options nearby on one of your many Android homescreens. Regardless, Veveo's app still provides more functionality than the built-in option and does so for free, as long as you can put up with the dated visuals.