Huawei is on its way to creating a possible “killer” of the Google Search App amid the ongoing US ban, which prohibited the Chinese tech giant from working with American companies last year, the website XDA Developers has reported.
The company is currently recruiting users in the United Arab Emirates to beta test its new search application in a bid “to convince potential customers that they can live without Google apps”.
“Huawei Search is a basic search app that just lets you input a query to search the Internet for webpages, videos, news articles, or images”, according to XDA Developers.
In addition, there are shortcuts for the current weather, as well as “sports,” “unit conversion,” and “calculator” in settings which also allow users to see their search history (or toggle it off), give feedback, and change their search region and language”.
Under the User Agreement for Huawei Search, the service is operated by Aspiegel Limited, the Chinese tech giant’s subsidiary based in Ireland.
The document stipulates that the users “must have a Huawei ID” for using the service which is “only available in the Huawei Device as an app or embedded search filed in Huawei services, such as Assistant (i.e. Search is not publically available in the web)”. It remained unclear, however, when Huawei Search will be available to customers.
“It would be premature to say that Huawei Search is an alternative to Google search or Microsoft Bing, but there’s a possibility that this service could evolve into a decent competitor down the line”, XDA Developers concluded.
Google Seeks to Restore Android on Huawei Devices
The developments come after vice president for Google Play and Android Sameer Samat revealed while speaking with German news outlet DPA in late February that Google had applied for a US government license to resume business ties with Huawei.
This came after Huawei recently confirmed that its latest Mate 30 Pro smartphone will come without Google Media Services (GMS), including Google Play Store, as its GMS licence was dropped following the US ban.
Consumers of older Huawei phones, however, will still continue to enjoy Google apps on their devices amid reports that thousands of apps have already been integrated with Huawei’s media service alternative.
In August 2019, Huawei also unveiled its Harmony operating system, which is expected to serve as an alternative to Google’s Android, but currently is only featured on the company’s TV brands - Vision, Honor Vision, and Honor Vision Pro.
US Clampdown on Huawei
The ongoing US crackdown on the Chinese tech giant kicked off in May 2019, when the US Department of Commerce prohibited internet providers from using Huawei products and US tech companies from selling technologies (hardware and software) to Huawei without obtaining a special licence first.
The US claims that Huawei is collaborating with the Chinese government to allow the latter to spy on those who use the tech giant's equipment. Beijing and Huawei vehemently deny the claims, with the tech giant vowing to combat the US move in court.