Google thinks poorly of your Pre, routes us back to basic mobile search | webOS Nation

Google thinks poorly of your Pre, routes us back to basic mobile search 42

by Derek Kessler Fri, 24 Aug 2012 8:16 pm EDT

Google thinks poorly of your Pre, routes us back to basic mobile search

Here's hoping you like your Google Search results severed up as if you're using a Treo, because for at least the past week if you've been using a webOS smartphone, that's what you're getting. For whatever reason, Google's flipped a switch on some server in one of their datacenters scattered across the globe that's taken webOS smartphone search results back about five years. Back to a time when fancy pants WebKit browsers were a novelty and search results had to be served up over slow 2G (or worse) connections and displayed on pathetic TFT matrix screens. And navigated with either a stylus or *shudder* a trackball. Those were dark times for the fledgling mobile internet.

What does that mean for your Google search results? It means that instead of getting ten search results you get three. It means you get next and previous page controls and not finer page 1, 2, 3, and 4 options. It means your images are presented in a hodge-podge mess (though you can at least view them, which you couldn't on the new/old design). It means you can't access most of Google services, and the only things available to you from search are Web, Images, Places, and News.

Worst of all, it means that Google assumes your smartphone has the intelligence of a snail and serves up 'mobile formatted' pages that go super light on the graphics and formatting. While that's a nice option to have, we never ever ever want that as the default. You can jump on to view the full page, but that's one more tap and, over cellular, one more page load until you get to the content that you want.

But why, Google, why? The webOS browser hasn't gotten any worse, though it admittedly hasn't gotten any better for quite some time. But Google's services haven't changed. I'm looking at Google on an iPhone right now, and it's the same interface with the same behaviors serving up the same content as it was last month and a year ago. For whatever reason, be it inadvertedly (probably) or purposefully (not likely), Google's now viewing and treating webOS smartphones as second-class citizens in the mobile world. Anybody feeling up for some *gulp* Bing?


Could it be Google wants us to bite the bullet and get the Android phone we've been putting off, (Hoping we opt for a Motorola phone?)

I've also noticed this happening on my TouchPad.

So have I. Sure, you can click on "Classic" to go back to the normal view, but expect to be doing that a lot, because it sure seems like Google will not keep that setting for very long.

Is there any way to change the default search engine in webOS to, say, Bing?

Yes . On phones, you click the drop down menu, then press preferences then you press on "default search engine" but I'm not sure about the TouchPad (I don't own one)

It's terrible, and Google tries to format any of the pages that you tap in mobile view to a mobile format, and you always get poorly formated messes of text. It's a pain to always have to click "Classic" at the bottom, thanks for nothing, Google.

Yes, I've changed mine to Bing on my Touchpad.

I'd say purposefully. They went out of their way to disable webOS's ability to sync secondary Google calendars to the phone. Why not this, too?

its so unfair!! our web browser is very capable!!

From the beginning Google has kept the TouchPad on a basic version of the desktop search interface. Who knows why. Maybe we should get a user agent that has iOS, Android, webOS, Windows, and Linux together in one. Then we'll see how Google will chew on that.

Yes, but as opposed to a basic version of the desktop page, now the TouchPad is getting a basic version of the mobile page, equivalent to a WAP browser page, complete with reformatting all pages for "mobile view", comparable to what you get on a non-smartphone. That's a definite unnecessary change.

I've noticed the change on my Pre3, but my TP is still displaying the full Google search page--nothing different from last month.

My TouchPad has stopped defaulting to the mobile version and is now back to normal. It goes to regular google and shows the regular results as it did before. I think Google fixed the problem. That Google mobile version plagued me for about a week but is no more for me!
There was a complaint thread to google about the TouchPad, not sure if that had helped why my TouchPad is normal again but after reading this article, my Pre2 is doing that crappy version of google now. Perhaps if enough of us complain to google it may change back on our phones too.

Have any temporary fixes or solutions surfaced?
Can a patch be made to trick google into thinking we are using an iPhone or an Android?

I noticed this but didn't know ALL webOS devices got this ? When I noticed it on my Pixi Plus, I thought mine was an isolated case ....

There's a patch this thread thet will fix it for the Touchpad

I still have my T3, :)

I think we should look into that user-agent mod or figure out how to put Bing into Just Type. (Bing actually works decently)

If they don't fix it, I'm moving all my contact's and emails away from google.

Good luck w/ that. Whatever is in their possession is for life.

I hope HP would once and for all get its sh...t together ans sue google, apple, RIM, and darn it, yeah! Samsung too, for all Palm-webOS patents and steal through all this years! Apple just made a cool $ 1 bill thanks to Samsung. I think that would be enough to put out of business to some (BB), hurt another (Samsung), tickling others (Apple) while just trying to bang google/android!

So, I notice this on my phone, but the touchpad still launches the regular site. When I go to change preferences on my pre 2 the only options are google and Wikipedia, and on the touchpad those two and Twitter. How can I change my search options?

I would look into changing the user agent string that webOS delivers via the browser. You can find instructions on how to do it in the forums.

I still struggle with what happened to WebOS. Bought a Pre 3 a week ago out of nostalgia and despite a lack of apps, WebOS just feels so much more elegant than my Galaxy Nexus or any other phone I've played with. There is something nice about the way it consolidates contacts and messages. I like Android, but wish I wasn't forced to leave WebOS. Its just hard to know what the future could have been if people had only given the platform a real chance. Unfortunately, I did notice the browser issue, but I will continue to happily use my Pre 3 for messaging and calling and if I'm forced to use bing, so be it.

The unsettling part was finding someone on Twitter putting #nazi and #webOS hashtags into their posts railing against Google's change. Not exactly putting the best face on the webOS community as a reaction to this news when that comes up in some of the most recent tweets under #webOS.
If someone thinks calling Google a bunch of Nazis is going to get them to change their mind, it's far more likely to do the opposite.

I've seen this on my Pre3 and Touchpad. Very annoying. But by now everything (Touchpad first, Pre3 later) seems back to normal again.

I don't know if Google fix the problem,
but it works on my touchpad, I got all results on google search.... On the webos browser or on advanced browser....

Hi, have been reading posts, find full google and Bing web sites,
bookmark and search from bookmark, works ok on my Touchpad and pre2/3 phones,
I get full sites not mobile ones.

I see what you are talking about when using "Just type" but it still looks the same when I go to on my Pre2 (despite it saying "View Google in: Mobile"). I usually go to the website rather than search in "Just type" because I like the auto-text. I didn't even realize it had changed.

Hi, have been reading posts, find full google and Bing web sites,
bookmark and search from bookmark, works ok on my Touchpad and pre2/3 phones,
I get full sites not mobile ones.

Maybe the article made Google aware of the issue. I've noticed the problem before, but it seems to be fixed now.

not fixed on my pre-

Ok I've noticed Google works fine if you "Just Type" Google dot com or type it within a browser on my Frankenpre2. I only get the crappy version if I utilize Just Type the proper way, like if I actually do a google search via just type instead of physically going to Kinda sucks since it kills the usage of Just Type, but it works for now.

Thanks for the tip!

Seems like entering "google" before any Just Type search does the trick without having to add ".com".

Nice work-around, Rookies4sho. But I like to "just type" what I'm searching. I went to, saw there was a search engine available, added it, and made it my default search engine for now.

From Wikipedia: The search engine policy emphasizes privacy and does not record user information. Because users are not profiled, the "filter bubble" can be avoided, with all users being shown the same search results for a given search term.

I like their search results so far.

just delete the /m in the default URL so it will be this when searching 'TEST'

It will default to the "old" mobile search with tabs and direct links.

Add this URL into the Opensearch Generator plugin Page:

Then wait until browser adds this new engine to your search engines, then use this newly generated as default justtype engine. Mord in this here:
Add ANY website to Just Type search [webOS 2.0 & 3.0] | webOS Nation -

this seems only to fix the justtype search problem, not the autosearch when Styling in browser.

There may be a very easy solution to this. Instead of complaining here and settle for some unsatisfactory workarounds - complain to Google! There's a feedback link at the bottom of the simple search page. Use it!

Bigass hacking in /usr/palm/applications/com.palm.browser/..../preferences-assistant.js  in 2 paragraphs, for phones standard search in browser. (additionally to justtype search Tip above)

First change the id and name to google mobile and delete the /m from the url:

PreferencesAssistant.DefaultSearchProvider = {
id: 'google mobile',
title: $L('Google mobile'),
weburl: $L('{query}')

Then always push the default value "google mobile" into the list of possible values in the browser preferences page:

// Assume a default search list and if we have a success then populate with the real deal.
var searchEngines = [];
if (status && response && response.webSearchList && response.webSearchList[Mojo.Locale.current]) {
searchEngines = response.webSearchList[Mojo.Locale.current];
} else {


After that luna restart, open browser go to preferences and select the third "google mobile" value. Here you go !!!!

I don't recommend anyone doing this, but it works.

Everybody should bing it so google don't make shit off webOS!

Google is back to normal.

i noticed this on my veer. It is still this way. Anyone else not on a pre 2 or pre 3 notice this? Also anyone still using your veer phones? I have been using it off and on since it came out. I have a pre 3 but the veer is so compact!

Dear Google-

As you know, I have been happily using a Palm Pre for a while and I really like it.

Unfortunately, a lot of the functionality has been lost first due to HP's stupid decision to transition to Bing, rendering my phone nearly useless and now you putting the final nail in the coffin by making my Google searches useless.

I am not an Applefan. I hate Apple. I was considering a Galaxy SIII for my next phone. But after how you're treating me now I am seriously considering Apple.

We're a small userbase, maybe only a half million. But please take our mind-share seriously. We influence a lot of people.

Thanks! :)

I should have added: I can get an iPhone on almost any carrier for f)C: all, and you want to charge me two bills? F)8: you.

Or, I went to Best Buy today and played with the Galaxy SIII, your crappy user interface and shoddy voice recognition doesn't merit two bills, no matter how big the screen is. I might just give up on the smartphone thing. Thanks for nothing, Google.