Samsung Galaxy 'S3' loses unified search after Apple battle

Samsung Galaxy 'S3' loses unified search after Apple battle

Summary: The removal of the ability to search for web and local content at once appears to be a pre-emptive move, given that Apple has used the same patent to win an injunction against the Galaxy Nexus

TOPICS: Patents

Samsung has reportedly removed the unified search function from its flagship Galaxy S III Android smartphone, possibly as a pre-emptive measure again further lawsuits from Apple.

Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung has reportedly removed unified search functions on its Galaxy S3 handset. Image credit: Samsung

Apple recently won an injunction against the sale of Google and Samsung's Galaxy Nexus handset in the US, with the relevant 'Siri' patent covering unified search. Google has promised to work around that patent in the Android 'Jelly Bean' 4.1 update.

Apple has not gone after the Galaxy S III, which is further away from getting a Jelly Bean update. However, the device now seems to have lost its unified search function anyway.

According to an Android Central report on Tuesday, a "security" update on Monday meant that users could no longer search for on-device content as well as web content through the omnipresent Google search bar.

That said, the report also noted that there were ways to retrieve and reinstall the older version of that search bar, which does provide unified search.

In the US, where software patents are allowed, it is possible for a company such as Apple to have a patent covering the concept of unified search. As Apple does not license out its patents, that effectively blocks anyone else from letting their users search for things in multiple places at once.

However, in the EU it is much harder for companies to get software patents, and Apple does not have an equivalent to the 'Siri' patent here.

Topic: Patents

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Prior Art?

    Didn't Google Desktop do just this, back in 2004?
    Surely shifting from one device type to another doesn't change the fact that the functionality isn't new?
    It all just seems insane that Apple is able to run around suing companies for things that it has done years after the company who they're suing!
    'The first release of Google Desktop Search was released as a beta version on October 14, 2004' - Wikipedia
    • was unifying search results in the late 90's. This is neither new, nor novel. This patent system has GOT to change!
      Software Architect 1982
      • Once again, for the patent-ignorant

        A patent is not about WHAT you do. It's about HOW you do it. Thus the ability for Google to work around the Apple patent in Jellybean. If they can figure out a different way to do unified search, they can. And then they can patent it.
        • I wish

          That's the way it's SUPPOSED to be, but somehow, Apple is getting away with pattenting ideas as opposed to specific implementations of ideas.
          Software Architect 1982
      • Flagged? Seriously?

        Someone actually flagged my comment that has been doing unified search? Talk about a rabid iPhan. WOW!
        Software Architect 1982
  • Prior Art?

    Didn't Google Desktop do just this, back in 2004?
    Surely shifting from one device type to another doesn't change the fact that the functionality isn't new?
    It all just seems insane that Apple is able to run around suing companies for things that it has done years after the company who they're suing!
    'The first release of Google Desktop Search was released as a beta version on October 14, 2004' - Wikipedia
  • Still amazed that this is a patent

    Google has had unified search in it's web browser for years. This is not something that Apple invented, and shows how ridiculous our patent system has become. It's only a matter of time before other countries just stop recognizing US patents at this rate.
    • Yet google does no wrong

      Your talking about the number one boot legging company in the world right or have you not ever been to Korea before? If so go take a look everything from appliances to cars is bootlegged out there.
      • You're thinking of China

        You'll see bootlegged stuff in both Japan and Korea, just as you'll see bootlegged items in the US too. But that doesn't make these 3 countries a bootlegging country.

        China is on a completely 'nother level though. Their entire economy is based on bootlegging.
    • Wrong target

      The problem is the USPTO and the CAFC not Apple. Apple can continue to file broad patents and the USPTO and CAFC will continue to endorse this harmful behavior.

      This change to the Galaxy S3 is ONLY in the USA. International Galaxy S3's are crippled because USA-only software patents don't exist in the rest of the industrialized world.
      • Apple is ALSO the problem

        You don't think it's unethical for a company to leverage an obvious flaw in a legal system to block competitors from doing reasonable things?

        I do.
        • Unethical?

          By what standard ? Corporations primary ethical obligation is to the shareholders, period.

          Corporations play on the field created by the legal system. If the legal system does not correct it's flaws, the corporation that doesn't play hard by the rules in place suffers disadvantage.

          Does it seem reasonable for them to do that? Not if you are a shareholder.
        • I do, but...

          The problem is still the USPTO and CAFC because the Galaxy S3 international version is unaffected by Apple's legal harassment. Apple will continue filing patents and suing over broad technology categories in the USA for the near future.

          When the CAFC chose to make software patents legally enforceable in 1998 that opened up the floodgates to all kinds of inappropriate patents. Amazon's one-click is another patent that never should have been approved, yet it was.

          Remove the enabling factor and Steve Jobs can trash-talk all the Android hate he wante to, but could ultimately do nothing about it. The USPTO and CAFC have made it possible so that USA-only customers won't get the latest technology because Apple somehow is patenting total ideas, not implementations of ideas.
      • Apple *IS* also the problem...

        ... but when bringing this "problem" up with the happy little Apple users I work with every day, they just shake their heads and pointedly ignore me as they message other Apple minions to ignore me on their iPhones.
        It all stems from how much people 1) care about business ethics, 2) desire freedom of choice, 3) think for themselves, 4) enjoy learning and 5) expect flexibility in their products. Apple counts on their customers not giving a rodent's backside about their unethical behaviour their former CEO even went on record to brag about, like doing things in a fair circumspect, software-company-specified way, like to be part of the "cool crowd", suffer frequently from "brain pain" when exposed to new, revolutionary concepts and don't really want much more from their products than what the developer tells them they should want (marketing).

        And so until the whole patent-issuance process will be seen for what it is - a monopoly-enabling mechanism - by the courts and the patent system is overhauled, Apple will continue to stifle non-Apple development of anything that threatens Apple devices.
  • Preemptive to avoid market fluctuations

    Once this "patent nonsense" is over with, if it does not go Apple's way, users will find another security update that reinstalls this function. This looks to be a smart move to avoid further muddying of the current litigative waters.
  • So annoyed...

    Still not convined that people in the world today don't give a shit about anyone but themselves?

    Just look at the success of Apple and the intentional ignorance of their consumers. Represent.
  • Good laugh!

    When I want a good laugh or when I want to confirm how opinionated some people are about Apple, Google etc., I come to ZDNet. Comedy Central of tech. The ranting replies, as in this case about patent issues, to articles, that are often framed to encourage this are comical in their lack or understanding of basic issues. Hey!, but we shouldn't let a good rant get in the way of objectivity.
    • What?

      You just said nothing, you must own a Iphone
  • Consumers are the losers!

    Apple wants the whole world to use its products. Patent infringement for petty issues such as "search" function might help for Apple, but ultimately consumers are the real losers. Apple has the habit of depriving non-Apple consumers the basic functionality from "similar" Gadgets it manufactures. In many court rulings, especially in US, Apple has won almost all the claims. While in European countries it has hardly won any. Apple has to be made understand the difference between "common" claims and "unique" claims. You might revolutionize the world with out-of-the box Gadgets, but you have to realize that there are other market, competitors and consumer segment who are not at all interested in Apple products.
  • You should take a class in "Business Economics 101"

    It has to do with Free market enterprise...

    FYI......If you made a product, You would do the same.