Accidental or intentional? Or merely a happy accident that no one felt compelled to fix? You do run into this with older software that is no longer supported. If you want to run obsolete versions of software, you do so at your own risk, and if there is a conflict with some new piece of software, well, too bad for you.
Today, it is only older phones being affected by a new update to the Google Search app, which is part of Android. The only way to fix it, that I know of, is to go to the play store, uninstall the "updates" to the Google app (by hitting "uninstall), and then hit the menu button and disable automatic updates for the Google app.
What scares me about this sort of thing that is it only a matter of time - if it has not occurred already - that the powers-that-be decide that intentionally bricking phones and computers is a neat way of forcing expensive hardware upgrades onto people. This is a particularly attractive strategy when technology reaches a plateau, and the new features of newer models are not compelling enough to get people to switch. Forcing them to switch becomes an attractive option.
And who knows how long it is before they decide to brick other things - your car, your refrigerator, your HVAC system, whatever. Because anything with a processor in it could be bricked in this manner.
Software updates are a fascinating way of literally programming planned obsolescence into a device!