You read that title correctly. After months of anticipation, the Google Experience Launcher –now called the Google Now Launcher– has finally made its way to the Google Play Store. Practically everyone saw this coming so it was really a question of when and not if.
Since many people are probably already using it via CyanogenMod or thanks to some easily downloaded and installed files, a lot of people already know what to expect with the Google Now Launcher. For those who don’t, here’s a quick list of some features.
- Google Now is a part of your home screen. After activating it in the launcher settings, you simply swipe left of the main home screen and it’ll be there waiting for you.
- Saying “Okay, Google” while on any home screen should automatically open the voice search for everyone.
- Instead of a pop up box, long pressing the home screen allows you to add widgets, wallpapers, or enter the launcher settings.
- A larger viewing area thanks to translucent status and navigation bars (where supported).
- It is only available currently for Nexus devices and Google Play Experience devices. Unfortunately, we don’t know when it’ll be available for everyone.
There are other changes as well. The Google Now Launcher is famous for its large icons which have received both praise and criticism. Another interesting feature is the launcher will delete any home screen you’re not longer using. So if you only have apps on two home screens, you’ll only have two home screens (plus the Google Now screen). If you want to see it in action, we reviewed the app when it was first available to people as a separate, non-Play Store download and you can view that video above. Do note, it is from several months ago so you can disregard all the parts about bugs because those have been fixed. If you want to download the app, click the Google Play Button!