Until recently, one of the most convenient ways to set a timer was to simply search for one on Google. Punch in a query like “10 minute timer” and, hey presto, you’d get a ten minute timer. But last month, reports started to emerge that this feature had disappeared from Google without warning. SEORoundTable was among the first to cover the missing timer on July 20th, citing tweets from around July 18th.
Although there are no shortage of timers elsewhere on the web (or provided as stock apps on iOS and Android) Google’s built-in version was a simple, accessible alternative. And, as well as the timer, there was also a stopwatch feature built into the same widget for when you need to count up rather than down. The feature dates back almost a decade, having been introduced in 2013.
We’re still checking on it.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) July 27, 2022
Google is yet to formally acknowledge the removal of the feature, so it may be the case that an accidental bug has caused it to disappear. Google’s public search liaison Danny Sullivan first said he’d look into the issue on July 21st, and almost a week later on July 27th said the team was “still checking on it.” If its disappearance is a bug, then it’s one that may be proving hard to squash. A spokesperson from Google did not immediately return The Verge’s request for comment.
Intentionally removing the feature would be a strange move for Google, given it’s spent much of the last decade building more features natively into its search results page. What started out as a simple list of hyperlinks now include everything from rich snippets that attempt to answer your search query directly, to a dedicated box for news stories, and even more specific features like a built-in price comparison tool for airplane flights. None of these appear to be going anywhere.
And, in case you’re wondering, Google Search’s built-in metronome is still alive and ticking, thank goodness.