Google is currently experimenting with a revamped layout for its Android search app, aiming to enhance one-handed usability on smartphones with larger screens. In response to the trend of moving UI elements to the bottom of screens, including tabs and search bars, Google is now testing a version that relocates the search bar to the bottom.
The trial, identified by TheSpAndroid, is featured in version 22.214.171.124.arm64 of the app. Screenshots reveal a taller search bar positioned above home, search, and saved icons, providing a more accessible location for users. This adjustment is designed to facilitate easier one-handed operation, allowing users with large smartphone displays to initiate searches with their thumbs and interact with the keyboard using taps or swipes without requiring the use of the other hand.
It’s important to note that this test is currently available only to some users who have updated to the latest beta version (126.96.36.199.arm64). The mainstream stable version, as of now, is 14.47.36. Gadgets 360’s attempt to access the new layout after updating to the latest beta release via the Play Store was unsuccessful, indicating that the redesign is limited to specific beta testers.
While Google has not officially announced this change aimed at improving the reachability of the search bar, it remains uncertain whether it will roll out to all users, become optional, or be set as the default. Notably, the company had previously reversed a design change that brought the search bar to the bottom on Android and later allowed iOS beta testers to make this adjustment in August.