When Google updated Google Search for Android which introduced the Google Now launcher, they put in place the functionality and ability to be a standalone launcher that hinted at a possible launch to Google Play at a future date, and that date is today, with Google releasing the Google Now launcher to Google Play.
The description stipulates that the Google Now Launcher is only ‘Available on Nexus or Google Play edition devices with Android 4.4 (KitKat)’ so if your Nexus is still lagging behind on updates, or isn’t compatible with Android 4.4 – sorry Nexus One, Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus owners – it will show up as incompatible.
Full features from the Google Play store description :
- Google Now on your home screen – its easier than ever to get just the right information at just the right time.
- Just say “OK Google” – when you’re on your home screen, just say OK Google to trigger voice input. Then say your search query. Or tell your phone what to do, like send a text message, get directions or play a song (available in the US, UK and Canada).
- Faster search – tap the search box and you can enter your query immediately.
- Easy access to your favourite Google products and services, like Gmail, YouTube and Maps.
- Larger viewing area – the status and navigation bars are now translucent, so your wallpaper pops from every pixel, and is even visible when you expand your apps drawer (when supported by device).
- Intuitive wallpaper picker – select any image that’s stored on your device or in the cloud. Position and preview your wallpaper before you set it.
This may rollout to more devices as Kit Kat adoption grows, but you’ll have to wait and see, in the meantime it’s quite easy to find and side-load the Google Now Launcher APK…just saying.