Google holds an astonishing amount of your personal data, and until recently, the company helped you easily access some of it through its Search app on Android. You could use the preinstalled search engine to find text messages, contacts, calendar events, email conversations, your web history, and more. The functionality even integrated with some third-party apps such as Todoist. However, it looks like the personal search results are now all but gone from the Google app.

We've known that searching for contacts has been broken for a while, but we weren't aware that the other personal search results were unavailable in Google's autocomplete suggestions, as well. When you dig into the corresponding settings in the Google app (Google app -> More -> Settings -> General -> Personal results) to find out where these results have disappeared to, you won't find any other options than apps and phone settings left — and the latter doesn't appear for everyone, either, though searching for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on your phone should still give you a toggle in the suggestions.

Left: Search used to surface contacts right in the suggestions with quick actions. Middle & Right: Now contacts are buried inside the regular search results.

Despite lacking options in the Google Settings, personal results don't seem to be gone completely just yet. While they won't appear in the autocomplete results anymore, you can still find your contacts in the regular search results, but you'll have to type out their whole name to make that happen. Calendar events and Gmail results sometimes appear, too, though it looks as though we're witnessing their deprecation. The only search term that somewhat worked for me was "my events," which prompted Google to offer me two old emails from 2018 that have nothing to do with calendar events. The third-party integration seems to be removed entirely: I couldn't find any of my Todoist tasks via Search.

Left & Middle: Searching for "my events" surfaced some old, unrelated Gmail results for me instead of an agenda. Right: What's left of the personal results in Google's settings.

The personal results section of old that used to sit in a rightmost tab underneath the search box in the Google app is completely gone, too. In there, you could find a hub of your personal information, like shortcuts to installed apps, recently opened websites and activities in apps, as well as top contacts, conversations, and events – pretty handy, but it's always been way too hidden.

The "personal" tab of old is gone in recent Google app versions.

Many of the search terms are still available via Google Assistant: You can ask it to help you interact with your contacts via messaging apps, you can tell it to show you emails from specific senders, and you can even make it give you an overview of your activity on Google. However, Assistant requires you to be online, whereas personal results didn't. Many people also can't access the Assistant in their language or choose to disable it, and often, a simple Google search with instantly accessible results involves less friction than talking to your phone and hoping it'll understand you.

It's sad to see this dream of a central search hub for everything on your phone go away in what looks like nothing but a push to use Assistant. If you're looking for an alternative, Nova Launcher might offer a worthy solution.

Google
Google
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free
  • Thanks:
  • Juan