Google is rolling out an update for its Android search app, bringing it to version 3.1.8, (the KitKat Google Search app version,) thus indirectly helping users enjoy a better experience when unofficially installing the Nexus 5-exclusive Google Experience Launcher.
Google Search 3.1.8 brings several improvements to devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or later, including new design and features.
As listed by Android Police, you can expect “an updated UI, new refresh animations,” a fix for the “wonky” Google Experience Launcher layout on tablets, but also new Google Now cards including a Website update card, News topic card, What to watch card, as detailed by Google:
If you’re a fan of a particular blog, the Website update card can bring you things like the latest post so you’ll never miss a story, and the News topic card brings you fresh articles from the web on topics you care about. The What to watch card gives you Movie and TV recommendations when you’re staying in.
Other features include Waze-based traffic incidents for Maps, repeat reminders, rugby scores and updates for in-store package pickups.
The most important feature – at least for some people – is the Google Experience Launcher, and it’s not official. While the launcher is not included in Google Search 3.1.8, the app update makes it easier to use it for those people interested in running it on devices other than the Nexus 5.
We’ll remind you that the new launcher on the Nexus 5 is actually part of the Google Search app, but Google will not bring it officially to other handsets that will be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat, no matter whether they’re Nexuses or not.
Even so, the Google Experience Launcher is unofficially available to download and install on Android smartphones and tablets (and has been available for a few weeks now), but in order to enjoy a better launcher experience, you should update your Google Search app to 3.1.8 before side-loading the launcher’s APK – not that we’re advising you to install unofficial APKs on your devices.
The Google Search 3.1.8 APK is available for download by either following the links below, or updating the app directly on your devices.
Are you getting Google’s new launcher as well?
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Are the top and bottom bars meant to be transparent after installing this?
(Using an N4 on 4.3 with stock)
No, it’s an Android 4.4 feature.
Google Search…. UPDATED on my Xperia Z Ultra
I wonder if that means the big G will start rolling out the GEL launcher to the Nexus 4 with the 4.4 update?
“We’ll remind you that the new launcher on the Nexus 5 is actually part of the Google Search app, but Google will not bring it officially to other handsets that will be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat, no matter whether they’re Nexuses or not.”
But i do hope so, not only to Nexus 4, but to a lot more devices
Despite what AA are saying I’ve yet to see an official Google announcement that confirms this. I may have missed it but I’m quietly optimistic that GEL will make it’s way to other Nexus devices.
Im hoping it will make it to all devices after a few months…
Agreed. It doesn’t make sense to release a Nexus device with a feature not available to other devices in the range. It breaks tradition/goes against the whole point of the Nexus range by introducing an “OEM” skin to the otherwise pure experience of the Nexus line thus far.
The GEL is already available – download here (after installing the google search update):
Lol. Yeah I realise that, but there’s a difference between side-loading something and it being available officially.
But it works perfectly once installed and the so called launcher is just a dummy apk linking to the search app anyway. Google by updating the search app knowing the launcher apk is out there so is effectively already supporting people using it as far as I’m concerned, probably using us as beta testers.
Just tried it on my GS3. It’s terrible.
The Spotlight-esque Google Now is nice in theory but when you factor in how swiping works in that app it’s terrible in practice. I was swiping away cards just trying to get back to the home screen from that pane.
You cannot set a default home screen.
Some icons are fuzzy because they are not designed to be blown up the way this launcher does.
I did think the Okay Google Now from any home screen was kinda spiffy, mostly because it pops up so fast (but the Search App is basically the Launcher, so that is not unexpected).
I do like the way the folders look.
I don’t like the way it doesn’t have separate tabs for Applications, Widgets, and Downloads in the App List. Also, no way to Hide Apps (but not Uninstall them). No quick way to bulk uninstall apps like in TouchWiz (where you go through them and press the ‘-’ to quickly uninstall apps).
Seems Google wants to put more focus on their services instead of the software. The actual launcher is as bare as can be, and you can already get to Google Now easy from TouchWiz (long press the menu button on the home screen) without losing the ability to arrange your home screens the way you want, set a default home screen, and lose a ton of other features compared to this launcher.
This is unusable for me.
Paragraphs please? Not going to even bother reading this. I also have an s3 (i9300) running 4.3 and everything in this launcher works amazing. It even worked great on 4,0.4 and 4.1. It’s unstable for you since you don’t know what the hell android is.
Lol, what links?
After this update the app drawer is 4×6 instead of 4×5, making the screen look too overloaded.