Here is yet another floating icon, multitasking app that shows a bit of promise. Search Now puts the ability to do web or even app searches right under your fingertips, no matter what app you’re in. And it’s even quite configurable.
Search Now uses the same Facebook chat heads floating icon mechanism that seems to be showing up quite a lot of late. Like Inapp Translator, which we took for a quick test a few days ago, you can relocate the circle or even hide it completely with a tap and hold gesture. Unlike Inapp Translator, however, you don’t need to leave your current app and go to the main app just to bring it back up. Search Now lets you bring back the search window by tapping on its Notification panel entry, which is a configurable setting.
Tapping on the icon or the notification will bring up a window with a search bar. What makes Search Now a bit special is that it doesn’t just do web searches. It goes through you contacts, apps, bookmarks, media, calendars, and even settings, to bring up relevant results. Even better, it lets you choose which search engine to use. Supported ones include Google, Yahoo, Bing, and, for the privacy-conscious, DuckDuckGo. Search Now has settings that let you control the size of the floating icon, which it calls the “Point”, and its translucency.
Search Now does have its own set of quirks. For one, the settings can be a bit confusing. The “Stay in notification” option, when enabled, will put a notification entry for Search Now whether or not the floating icon is visible. If disabled, the notification only appears if the icon is hidden. However, if you disable the floating icon, it will also disable Stay in notification, so you can’t have a notification without permanently hiding the icon. This is a bit annoying because if the icon is hidden and you tap on the notification, it becomes visible again. The second issue is a random one, that of performance. Search Now tries to present real-time search suggestions, which could bog down the app when using some search engines. Unfortunately, this has the effect of also temporarily freezing up the whole device.
Still, perhaps with a bit more polish, Search Now can be a formidable tool in the multitasker’s belt. It’s free to download from Google Play Store and, best of all, doesn’t have any in-app purchases.