After the Galaxy Nexus got new software to remove Google’s universal local/online search, we saw the same change start coming to US versions of the Galaxy S III, as well. While not exactly a welcome change, it wasn’t entirely uncalled for, and allowed Samsung to avoid the threat of future injunctions against the GS3. Earlier this week, though, we learned that the reach of this update had spread far beyond the jurisdiction of any US court, and was coming to the international quad-core version of the Galaxy S III. If you were wondering why Samsung was so eager to strip the enhanced search from so many phones, seemingly without cause, you’re not alone, and it turns out Samsung itself may be a bit confused, as well. As it turns out, the company claims it never meant to strip the feature, and it plans to restore the functionality in a future update.
Samsung provided a statement that, while it only directly addresses the situation in the UK, is presumably applicable to all non-US nations:
The most recent software upgrade for the Galaxy S III in the UK included the inadvertent removal of the universal search function. Samsung will provide the correct software upgrade within the next few days.
There has got to be quite a bit more to this story than Samsung is currently sharing; after all, phone updates aren’t exactly prepared without any oversight, and someone clearly made a knowing decision to disable the integrated search. Maybe Samsung is just backpedaling after a negative public reaction, or maybe some rogue employees got a little carried away, but believing this to be purely “inadvertent” seems like a stretch.