Google may soon have unified message search feature on Android devices, recent patent reveals

Where exactly did I send this message?

Reading time icon 2 min. read

Readers help support MSpoweruser. We may get a commission if you buy through our links. Tooltip Icon

Read our disclosure page to find out how can you help MSPoweruser sustain the editorial team Read more

Key notes

  • Google has been working on bringing a unified message search feature to all of its apps.
  • A recently published patent application dated back to July 2023 reveals its system.
  • You can also search for them using voice prompts.

Have you ever randomly remembered a text message, but can’t exactly recall where you saw it? Well, Google may be working on a new unified message search feature, and from the look of it, this could save you lots, lots of time.

The Mountain View tech giant reveals this system in a recently published patent application dated July 2023, which USPTO has just newly made available for the public. It’s pretty much self-explanatory: it helps users search and interact with messages across different platforms.

And it’s not exclusive for mobile use, as Google describes in the document. This feature may also arrive on laptops, desktops, and even servers. Here’s what the system looks like:

It does more than just search using text: you can also speak them. So when you speak, the system figures out what you want to search for. Then, it finds messages related to the search and shows them in one place, so the user can interact with them easily.

Google also demo-es how the feature works like in the document. For example, if there’s a message from someone called Liz Day that mentions a specific word, like “Tahoe,” the system can highlight that word when displaying the message. If Liz sent a message saying, “Let’s plan our trip to Tahoe,” the word “Tahoe” would be highlighted in bold to make it stand out. 

It can also understand different search terms, like sender names or message contents, or even timestamps, and then organize the results by time. If there are lots of messages from one platform, it summarizes them for easier viewing. The system represents each message using a card-like element in the interface.

Being a recently published patent, however, means that we still have a long way to go. But the USPTO has granted Google this one, so here’s hoping. Maybe it’s coming to future Android versions for all messages on Google Messages, Gmail, and more. We shall see.