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Samsung Galaxy S3 search foul-up was a mistake, not Apple

Samsung inadvertently removed the Galaxy S3's universal search function in a software update.

Why would Samsung stop you searching through your contacts, calendars and other stuff on your Samsung Galaxy S3? That's the question we asked yesterday, speculating it was something to do with Apple -- but it turns out to be an old-fashioned cock-up.

"The most recent software upgrade for the Galaxy S III in the UK included the inadvertent removal of the universal search function," Samsung admitted to us. "Samsung will provide the correct software upgrade within the next few days."

As blunders go, it's an amusing but baffling faux pas. Who failed to spot such a basic feature disappearing in the new software?

Local search lets you search stuff on your phone -- as opposed to searching your local area, for the nearest hairdresser or kebab shop or something -- and makes it easy to search both your phone and the Web from one place. When you type something into the search box, the results are supposed to be a mix of Google search results and contacts and apps and more. But the latest update for the S3, version XXBLG6, removed that handy feature.

At least now we know this was an accident, rather than a worrying precedent for removing features. We were concerned that Samsung had pulled local search in the UK and Europe because it was at issue in a US legal battle with Apple. Fortunately it turns out not to have been a pre-emptive note of legal caution, but a simple screw-up instead.

Samsung hasn't had the best time with software updates in the past. The Ice Cream Sandwich update for the popular Samsung Galaxy S2 took so long it stirred up much wailing and gnashing from phone fans amid delays, recriminations and a lack of communication.

Should you be able to rely on a company as big as Samsung not to ever foul up, or does everybody make mistakes? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.