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Google Experience renamed to Google Now Launcher, imports settings from your old home screen too

The Google Experience launcher, exclusive to the Nexus 5, has been renamed to the “Google Now” launcher, and now comes with the ability to import settings from your old home screen, suggesting that a launch for other handsets could be nearing.
February 6, 2014
Google Now Launcher logo 710px

The Google Experience launcher has so far been left as an exclusive to the Nexus 5, unless you decided to side load the APK file yourself, but a new update suggests that we could be edging closer to a release for other devices too.

Through yesterday’s update to Google Search, it seems that a new name for the launcher arrived as well. The Google Experience launcher has now been renamed as the “Google Now” launcher, which makes sense considering that Google Now functionality is built in as a key part of the experience.

Another interesting addition to the launcher is a change in the setup procedure. The setup now asks whether or not you’d like to import icons and folders from your old home screen.

Google Now Launcher Setup

Strangely the feature seems a bit hit and miss. I didn’t receive the same prompt on my Galaxy S2, but that could be because I’m running a third party launcher and an Android 4.2.2 ROM, which the Google Now Launcher simply might not be able to recognise. Even so, the launcher still works a treat on my handset.

The inclusion of an import feature suggests that Google could be planning to make this product more widely available, but we still don’t know if or when the launcher will actually make it onto the Play Store.

If you’d like to test it out for yourself, follow the installation guide below.

Installation guide:

  1. Allow installation of apps from unknown sources
  2. Install the latest update for Google Search [Download Link]
  3. Install the latest GoogleHome.apk from the Nexus 5 [Download Link]
  4. Set the Google Now Launcher as your new launcher
  5. Follow the setup guide

The only downside I experienced with the Google Now launcher is its lack of customization options. Fans of ADW or Nova Launcher are unlikely to find Google Now as a suitable alternative, but this latest update is hopefully the first of many, which could see Google Now become a viable alternative.

If you’d like a closer look at the ins-and-outs of the launcher’s features before making the leap to install the APK, then check out our impressions video below.