Theoretically, I knew it was there all along. One of the "why has nobody copied this as well yet"-features of Webos was Just type. Think of Spotlight on IOS, only more convenient. Start typing, right on the home screen, and suggestions will pop up. Apps on the phone, contacts, email, links right to searching within places like maps and Wikipedia.
With a feature like that, the hardware keyboard becomes something of a super power. The thing is, you never have to take any action to start searching, not go into a mode, tap an on-screen button or anything. Just type.
For some reason I assumed it would be much less of a thing without the online services which used to be included in searches. Only now are things like that becoming even a little useful in Spotlight on OS X, and for quickly launching an app or finding some mail there certainly is no need for such frills.
Speaking of Spotlight
I sigh inward every time I type 2016-08-30 - the exact name of a text file I have been editing all day - and Spotlight's first suggestion is the calculator app and the number 1978. Sometimes, the documents section comes next, with the file I am after first, other times it is mail messages mentioning the date, or some obscure source code file form what knows which corner of the hard drive.
Back to Just type
The other cool thing I realized was that just typing is a feature of the system just like common swipe gestures and the like. For the past weeks I have wondered how Preware - an app for finding and installing apps and lower-level stuff - could not have a search feature, thus forcing me to browse categories and scroll in some very long lists.
Yes, all I needed to do was start typing on the first screen of the app. Beautiful.