Google added some of its iconic “Doodles” homepage to Pixel phones ‘ home screen search bar last year. Now, it looks as if Google will introduce the same Doodles in the near future to non-Pixel Android phones, starting with an experiment called “Lab.”
Google Labs made a comeback in Android’s Google Search app last week, providing an opportunity to test work-in-progress features such as pinch-to-zoom on search results. The available Labs features were fairly tame at the launch, or were rolling out already. Over the weekend, despite the clear name “Search Widget Doodles,” Google turned on the switch for a third Lab.
This is a familiar feature for Google Pixel users, as the built-in search app of the Pixel Launcher will occasionally enliven Doodle that day over the usual Google G viewed on the home screen. These mini Doodles have all sorts of things including baseballs, guitars, pretzels, and snow globes.
However, the new “Search Widget Doodles” lab can be seen on any Android phone, not just Pixels, as our Ryan Kovatch confirmed the lab on its OnePlus 6T. Considering that Google is more than capable of detecting when you’re using a Pixel phone — and the Pixel Launcher has its own way of enabling and disabling doodles — it seems likely that more Androids are coming to Doodles.
Since the arrival of the Lab, there have been no Google Doodles displayed on the home screen widget for Pixel or Android, making it difficult to know how exactly the feature works. From the “Learn More” page, we know at least that after clicking on Search Widget Doodles you will need to restart your phone.
Any doodles would presumably then appear in the “Search” widget of the Google app. We’ll keep an eye on the next few Google Doodles to see if and when the Doodle will reach more Android phones ‘ home screens.
The “Labs” page of the Google app is still in the process of rolling out to devices, and may not be on your phone yet. To find the list of Google Labs currently available, open the Google App, tap More, then google for the option Labs.