Google Now Launcher

Here's an intriguing little change — today's Google Search app update, which carries an unassuming changelog of performance improvements and fixes, actually brings new branding for the Nexus 5's home screen launcher. (Parts of the launcher are contained in the search app itself, since that's now Google Search works on the N5.)

After updating to the new Search app, the name of the Nexus 5's launcher in the Settings > Home menu changes to "Google Now Launcher." Some other devices with the Nexus 5 launcher sideloaded are also seeing a new "Google Now Launcher" splash screen when the app is first updated, which we've dutifully captured for you after the break.

Make of that what you will. It's possible this is a precursor to a wider rollout of Google's launcher on the Play Store, as many have predicted. It's also possible they just decided to change the name, so let's not get too excited just yet.

Update: Looks like if you sideload the Google Now Launcher APK onto a device with the stock Android launcher, you now get the option to import app icons across to the new launcher. That's another possible sign that Google's launcher will be spun out onto the Play Store at some point. We've got pics after the break.

Thanks, Jeremy!

Google Now Launcher Google Now Launcher


Reader comments

Nexus 5 launcher becomes 'Google Now Launcher' after Search update


"Nexus 5" exclusive

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"...let's not get too excited" :D

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Actually, the Moto X launcher IS the stock launcher. The launcher on the Nexus 5 is NOT the stock launcher. It's The Google Now Launcher.

And as the Nexus 5 is the stock Google device, its' launcher, regardless of title, would also be the "stock" launcher.

Seems silly calling Motorola's launcher the "stock launcher" when Motorola has tweaked it to be different than the launcher offered from Android's creator on the Nexus 5.

Will given that the Nexus 7 is also running the "stock" launcher, can't we all just agree that there are two stock launchers? Motorola hasn't changed anything by the way.

Posted via my Nexus 5

THIS. Thank you.

I know a lot of people don't understand that, but the GEL or GoogleNow Launcher is not the stock, vanilla Android launcher. Stock, vanilla Android comes straight from the AOSP.

No "exclusive" is stock Android.

Nope. "Stock" refers to what is shipped with the device. The word you're looking for is "vanilla".

Id say google has now made 2 stock android there's stock android and "super stock android" I wish all nexus devices had the same thing

Sent from my Nexus 7 2013 or iPhone 5

Don't know what you want me to tell you other than it wasn't there before, but it is now. The only launcher I'd ever installed on it was ActionLauncher, though I have no way of proving it.

Would so love that to happen

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Clearly indicates that the GELbooru launcher will be coming soon.

I might try this out on my 2013N7, but I specifically didn't go with the Nexus 5 because my initial impression was not favorable with the "google now launcher".

The only thing I don't like about the launcher are the comically oversized icons. Of course that's nothing a quick build.prop edit couldn't fix. Other than that, this is the first time I haven't felt the need for a 3rd party launcher.

That was part of it for me too. I'm also just used to the standard android launcher, (though I prefer the CM 11 implementation) and didn't see the bonus of "Google Now Launcher" as worth giving up all the goodies on the G2, since I wasn't going to use either device as it came out of the box.

Had 6 updates just now when I checked on my Nexus 4, with Google Search being one of them.

Chose to install it by itself, and then opened it there after the update.

First screen it showed was a white background with the words "Google Now Launcher" on it. After it opened, it jumped immediately to the left and opened the Google Now cards window.

I had already installed the Google Experience Launcher on this Nexus 4, so now the question will be which devices are seeing this update to more than just Google Search?

M**ther F**ckin Retard 118, try and Google it yourself. Alex is not here to run your errands.

Show some respect.


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Not funny. Add a /s tag next time and you won't come off like an ass.

My apologies if that was your intent.

oh I forgot the almighty /s. Also, I find the term "retard" completely offensive. Ranks up there with the N word.

You go to any other Android site (Android Police) and they'll have the apk right there for you to download.

Well it takes a special kind of person for their 34th post in 3 years to be that retarded (dimwitted if you like)

Just calling it like I see it.

I'm sorry I've got a few better things to do with my time than constantly post here. Work, family, home, etc. When you move out of your parents basement you'll understand. Also, the sad part was you looked up how long I've been here and how many posts I've made. Congrats.

I know it is hard trying to remember how to operate the computer. I am surprised they do not post step by step instructions for you.

Run along before they catch you going over your time...

Actually it's quite easy for me to use the computer seeing as I'm one of the lead IT guys at one of if not the largest hospital here in Boston. So your statement awards you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

No he can defend himself but these guys work hard, just like everyone else does, and its rude.

I call it like I see it. I would do the same if some stranger walked into my office and started demanding things.

But thats just me.

I just read the post and "calling like I see it your an Ass". Didn't have anything to do with you and I didn't see any demands.

But your the guy in the hallway watching some stranger walk into another strangers office and overheard something, then barged in and started yelling. Completely unnecessary.

But that's just me.

reading? how does it work?

You missed the important parts of the original post and my post. Good job!

I'd really like for Google to release it's phone app and contacts app into the play store to integrate better with the hangouts app. I've really enjoyed using it as my everyday messaging app, and I would love to see that combined local and universal search design language in more of my utility apps

Posted via Android Central App

I put the phone app on last night for awhile when I switched to Kit Kat on my Note 3.

Kinda slick and I hope some parts of it make it into the actually OTA.

Have you got a link?

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If it is kit kat that you want, you may need to think about it a bit. It is buggy (it is an early January release, way behind) but not terribly bad. The big downside that it can be "interesting" going back to MJ4.

The dialer is easier. Just let me know what you want, I have them both in front of me...

Thanks mate. Running Kitkat already, just needed to change TW dialer.

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Yeah. It works perfectly on my HTC One, but I keep losing the icon on the lower right on my Nexus 7 2013.

Posted via Android Central App

Nope, it's not disappearing for me either.

Also noticed that the app drawer stays where you leave it. Before it would always snap back to the first page. Nice...

Posted via Android Central App

Noticed the new splash screen on my DNA and was a tad confused. Interesting move, it would be awesome of Google released the GNL (?) on the play store. Share the love!

Went to the play store expecting to see this update but mine says it is up to date, even though it apparently isn't. Hangouts needed an update though...

I am searching everywhere for this update because if the patch notes are correct, it will finally split SMS after 160 characters for Sprint Users.

What does alex mean when he says parts of the launcher app are contained within the search app itself?
How does this work on the N5?

I have one but I don't see what this means.

It just means that they are integrated in the programming language, and that they share them. Provides for a better experience and "working" relationship between the two. Lots of the time it will be seamless and you will not notice it.

Dang it! The last update messed up the layout of the Google Now Launcher on my Nexus 10. This update doesn’t really make things better. It's giving me the Nexus 7 layout with only three icons on each side of the app drawer rather than four. I wonder if I need an updated version of the launcher apk that I had to download to get it to work originally?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa plzzzzzzzzzz Google plzz

Sent from my Nexus 7 2013 or iPhone 5

Side loaded the launcher back when the Nexus 5 came out on to my Nexus 4 4.4.

Seems I do have Google Now Launcher now. Not sure if I notice anything different though.

Posted via Android Central App

Even if it is released to the play store, it would have to be pretty amazing for me to stop using nova prime. Love the gestures and custom theme icons.

Posted via Android Central App

I sideloaded the Google Experience Launcher APK on my Samsung Galaxy S3 about a month ago. I updated Google Search today and pressed the home button and the "Complete Action Using" prompt came up with the "G" blue circle logo and "Google Now Launcher" text under it. Before it used to be a blue circle with the "home" icon in it and read "Launcher" under it. So this update is not just an exclusive because it worked for me after todays google search update on a GS3.

If you want proof, you can certainly ask for it but I honestly don't know how I would prove it.

Exclusive to the fact that you cannot get it unless you side load it. You cannot just go into the play store and get it..

Looks like with Yahoo buying Aviate launcher and now Mozilla joining with Everything me launcher is making Google making their own launcher more accessible to people

Posted via Android Central App

I've had it side loaded on my N4 the moment I could and until I pick up my wifes N4 I forget that it's not the default launcher. I would love to see it show up on the Play Store as a official option for everyone but my biggest joy about this is it'll stop being called GEL! :P

Tried GEL on my S3 and I must say those icons are huge, but I prefer icons that big on a tablet. The launcher was really snappy tho.

Anyone running the latest Google Now Launcher on their Nexus 7? If so, are you having issues with your wallpaper while in landscape mode? My wallpapers do not span all the way to the right.

Posted via Android Central App

the shiny new syndrome wore off quickly and I'm back to the popular and more featured launchers from Play Store. This one is ok, but the others still offer much more.

I have a Nexus 5 and my Google search app hasn't updated yet.... i guess i'm a little confused on whats happening. The new app update was for 3.2 right?