What you need to know
- The Google Discover feed appeared in a recent leaked video of the Samsung Galaxy S21.
- Users can choose between Discover’s card-based news feed and Samsung Free, which uses a multi-tab nav structure.
- Samsung is expected to officially announce both the Galaxy S21 and One UI 3.1 on January 14.
Samsung probably hoped that this day would never come. Up to this point, Samsung phones have used the company’s own newsfeed — originally Bixby Home, rebranded to Samsung Daily in 2019, and revamped again last month to Samsung Free — on its home page for some time, with no alternatives.
That will reportedly change when the Samsung S21 ships early next year. After an S21 leak showed off the actual phone and some of its features, a Twitter user spotted a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment where the leaker swiped right on the homescreen, revealing (what appeared to be) the Google Discover feed.
Android Police, which first spotted the tweet, reported that it confirmed with its sources that Google Discover would be available to all S21 owners, as part of the One UI 3.1 update that will likely be announced alongside the S21. One UI 3.0 just launched on the Samsung S20 lineup of phones, but won’t reach some older phones until mid-2021. We have no word yet on when 3.1 will reach older phones, and with it Google Discover.
S21 owners will choose between Google Discover and Samsung Free for their home newsfeed. Discover remains the popular choice for most Android users, thanks to its personalized cards of news, videos and evergreen content based on your searches and Chrome activity across devices. Plus, they recently added a new Discover feature to “like” cards you find interesting to improve your results. Samsung Free, on the other hand, abandoned the news card format and now has a multi-tab feed for News, Play and Samsung TV.
Our main reaction to this news is relief that we’ll finally see Discover on Samsung phones, bringing it in line with some of the other best Android phones. We’re also intrigued by some of the other planned 3.1 updates, including Bixby Voice Unlock, a new biometric option for unlocking your phone to go with fingerprint authentication and face unlock.
What’s your reaction, Samsung owners and future S21 buyers? Will you stick with Samsung Free, switch to Google Discover, or skip them both for one of the best Android news apps? Let us know your plans in the comments.