Samsung Galaxy S3 Universal Search Function Removal 'Inadvertent' Mistake, Fix on Way

By Anu Passary | Jul 28, 2012 09:49 AM EDT

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Korean tech giant Samsung has managed to land themselves in a pickle - yet again. In a recent software rollout, Samsung 'accidentally' managed to remove the Universal Search function. How the firm managed such a feat remains a mystery and continues to baffle the wise! The self-admitted "inadvertent" mistake borders on suspicious, especially, given Samsung's high standards and considering that it's not the first time they've grappled with a software update!

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According to TechRadar, Samsung has confirmed that it was taking immediate action to repair the recent Galaxy S3 "stability update", which had rendered the on-device search function inoperable. The company said in a statement that "The most recent software upgrade for the Galaxy S3 in the UK included the inadvertent removal of the universal search function. Samsung will provide the correct software upgrade within the next few days."

Tech gurus have denounced the firmware upgrade as a feature downgrade. The OTA software update aka the "stability update" for the Galaxy S3 eradicates local search (or the universal search) functionality from the Android-powered smartphone. Owners of the device have been left confused and angry.

Reportedly, the "stability update" has only affected international versions of the phone.

Earlier this month, reports of the bunk update made news when S3 owners found that they were unable to use the local web search function, contacts, apps, and other information through a single interface. A BBC report indicates that users were given no prior warning of the imminent consequences (i.e., the removal of the advanced search function) if the software was downloaded. The Sprint version of the Galaxy S3 also faced the feature disability issue, courtesy the same update.

Rumors were rife that the search function vanishing act was due to the continuing patent dispute between Samsung and Apple (Apple owns a patent that covers local searches). Apple has previously claimed that the technology infringed its patent to a unified search interface. Apple uses the technology to collate results from varied sources in its immensely popular Siri app.

However, Samsung put the floating rumors to rest and clarified its stance, acknowledging that it had made a mistake in releasing the software.

Recently, the Galaxy S3 breezed past the 10 million units' sales mark since its May 29 debut. However, Samsung's flagship smartphone, which has even dethroned the iPhone 4S in popularity counts, has been dogged by several problems. Delays in shipping, production supply unable to meet the demand, and patent issues with Apple are just the tip of the iceberg. Currently, Google's Galaxy Nexus sales are already banned in the U.S. owing to Apple patent infringement issues.

With troubles galore, Samsung would do well to steady its ship and adopting the adage "a stitch in time saves nine" as its motto.

For users who have already installed the upgrade - or are using a US device without local search - there's hope yet. You can re-enable the functionality with a quick and dirty hack. Try at your own peril though. Mobilenapps.com takes no responsibility for any issues you may encounter or feature losses.

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