The Google search widget is commonplace on a lot of Android home screens, as it gives users the ability to search for something without opening up the browser. While the search widget hasn’t seen much innovation, Snap Search emerges as a potential replacement that promises plenty of features.
With recent week showing us that mobile and desktop browsers are tracking you when they shouldn’t be, Snap Search allows you to do incognito browsing without worrying about being tracked or monitored. The premium version nets you a dedicated VPN within the app.
What is Snap Search?
Snap Search is basically a hybrid app that combines single tab browsing with a strong VPN powered by proxy servers. In addition, it also acts as a search widget that not only lets you access Google, but opens up your search widget to instantly take you to IMDB, Google Images, Wikipedia, and more. That means it also saves you extra clicks from the search page.
Improving upon perfection
The Google Search widget itself has changed very little over the years. If you want to look for something specific, it saves you an extra step, but it also adds an extra step. While the search widget saves one the trouble of opening up a mobile web browser (Chrome, Opera, Firefox, etc.) The user will still have to find what they want on the search page, especially if they know what they’re looking for.
The UI with Snap Search takes some getting used to, but no more than a few minutes. In addition, you can take full page screenshots of a webpage, but as the app doesn’t ask for permissions, you will have to upload the screenshot to Google Drive or other cloud storage options.
The app also offers the ability to scroll to the top of the page by tapping on a small button that is at the bottom right of the page.
Let’s get to the use cases of the app. If I wanted to see Shrek’s (2001) IMDB page, I will have to type something like Shrek IMDB and tap on the top result on Google. In this process, I am going to IMDB through Google.
With Snap Search it’s simplified to opening the app or widget, and choosing IMDB under the entertainment tab and then carrying out the search. Do so and you’re instantly taken to the IMDB page for Shrek.
Outside of IMDB, you can instantly go to other websites and directly skip Google Search. Another use case may be under the Social Media tab where you can instantly search sites like Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular social media right from the widget.
For what it’s worth, the free version has very slim search options, which is a bit disappointing.
The added benefits of Snap Search also come in its ability to block ads, pop-ups, forced Dark Mode on a web page, reader mode, full-screen webpage, and most importantly, a popup window. This more or less turns your search tab into a portable messenger window.
Similar to how Facebook Messenger chat bubbles operate, you can have the bubble open while in another app and quickly search for something without switching out.
The VPN works as advertised, allowing you to choose a preferred location, or by fastest.
You can see it below at the top left, below the battery indicator.
Snap Search also comes with the usual features of sharing links, open link with an app, copying links, and desktop view of a webpage on mobile.
All of the above are free features offered by the app. Premium, however, nets you the ability to search every website offered by the app, save a webpage as an image, and as a PDF, edit the details on a webpage (text, numbers, etc.), and a premium VPN proxy.
Privacy at a hefty price
While Snap Search offers a lot of great features, the cost is definitely the elephant in the room. Instead of marketing itself as a one-time purchase app, Snap Search operates on a subscriber-based model. You can choose between monthly and annual payments.
The developer states that the subscription is there to finance the premium VPN proxy that gives Snap Search its true anonymity unique selling point.
Snap Search is available for $2.99 per month, $19.99 per annum, and $32.99 to unlock the app permanently.
Who is the app for?
The app has a very niche market. If you’re like me and just use Google for routine day-to-day searches like “rainbow six siege events” or “upcoming tech events”, the app isn’t meant for you.
However, if you want to ensure your incognito or “off the grid” browsing is truly anonymous, Snap Search is right for you. The VPN will let you access with geographic or regional restrictions with ease while saving you from ads, pop-ups, tracking, and other invasions to one’s privacy. These sites can vary from websites, forums, and streaming sites.
In addition, Snap Search doesn’t save any data locally. Once you exit the app, you have a clean slate. Your searches and use history are wiped with each time you close the app. No cookies, no browser history, no ads, no sign-up needed, and a customizable news feed make this a great app for privacy-focused individuals.
Even if you don’t want to pay the premium, as a free app this is still a vastly better replacement to Google’s search widget, especially if you want to search for something discretely. Weighing in at a tiny 4MB, this is easily the best replacement for the Google Search widget one can get.
- Truly private browsing with no local data stored
- No ads or sign-up required to use the app
- Small file size
- A host of useful features in the free mode (forced dark mode, popup window, etc.)
- Disconnect from Google means search history is truly history
- The UI has a bit of a learning curve to figure out
- VPN is locked behind steep premium pricing
- Limited options for search in the free app
All in all, Snap Search is an app you can try out for yourself and see if it can give you the privacy you are looking for. We highly recommend giving the app a shot because it has certainly become my new replacement for the Google Search Widget.