The search functionality of Android TV is powered by Google, using something akin to a widget in the Leanback Launcher. As such, it can be updated through the Google Search for Android TV app without touching the rest of the operating system or the launcher. Today’s update is pretty significant, going from 1.0.7 to 2.0. It brings the new colorful Google microphone that was already present on phones and the web, as well as bringing the rest of the UI up to date.
When you look at the launcher, the new colorful icon is very noticeable. If you move your DPAD to tap on the search button, you’ll notice another button comes up. It is the keyboard input option. Selecting that opens the search box and the keyboard. You can type in your query instead of having to rely on your voice. Although this was previously available by toggling speech and then using your remote to focus on the search box, it’s great to see Google making it an easier and more obvious way of searching by text. I imagine many people were confused as to why this was not possible.
New Search UI
If you do a Google voice search on your phone, you’ll see four colorful dots dance around on the screen as your speech is processed and the query is executed. Now this UI has made its way to the TV. The voice input window overlays the screen as you talk and then disappears to show you the results. The results screen has changed as well. I noticed the theme in general tended to be darker, preferring dark background images and cards. Other than updating a lot of UI, not a lot of additional functionality appears to have been added.
Google’s apps tend to roll out over a period of several days to make sure users don’t have too many bugs. If you want to download it now, you can sideload the app from APK Mirror.