Samsung has denied purposefully removing local search from international Galaxy S III handsets, insisting that the loss of functionality was in fact a mistake in the upgrade process. Owners of the international Galaxy S III, which is sold across Europe, were frustrated to discover that a firmware update pushed out earlier this week stripped the controversial local search integration from their phone with no apparent warning. Now, Samsung tells TechRadar, it intends to fix the problem.
"The most recent software upgrade for the Galaxy S III in the UK included the inadvertent removal of the universal search function" a company spokesperson said in a statement today. "Samsung will provide the correct software upgrade within the next few days."
Local search - aka "universal search" - has been the partial subject of a lawsuit in the US, with Apple claiming that Samsung's software functionality infringes on a search-related patent the Cupertino company holds. In response, Samsung has been updating Galaxy S III variants sold in the US to remove the contentious tech.
Owners of the international device, however, were left non-plussed by its disappearance, since so far Apple has not attempted to challenge Samsung over the functionality in Europe. That confusion quickly turned to anger, given Samsung's guidance around the OTA update was only that it addressed "stability" and made no mention of removing features.
If you've already installed the upgrade - or are using a US device without local search - you can re-enable the functionality with a quick & dirty hack.