Skip to main content

Hey Google, don't just change fundamental parts of my launcher without warning

Since it became available I've been using the Google Now Launcher on pretty much every phone. Though it's of course pre-loaded on Nexuses and now Motorola phones, I even go out of my way to install it on my Galaxy Note 5 and Shield Tablet. It's a great launcher — but seriously, why can't Google just communicate when it's going to dramatically change in function and appearance through an app update?

Google search app

I, like many people, often leave automatic updates from the Play Store turned on — out of convenience of keeping several devices up-to-date more than anything. And when I don't have automatic updates on, I'll just hop into the Play Store and hit the "Update all" button when there are several updates pending to get everything downloading at once.

I gave myself every opportunity to think this was my fault. It wasn't.

Today I unlock my phone and open the app drawer as I do several times a day, and all of a sudden the launcher I knew and was completely familiar with no longer worked the way it did before. The app drawer now scrolls vertically (not everyone is a fan), and has a weird frequently-used app listing and a search bar at the top. Wait, I didn't update the Google Now Launcher today, did I? I check the Play Store and nope, no update there — it hasn't been updated since August 1. What the heck happened?

Oh, right, this is Google we're talking about so it doesn't have to make sense. A small update to the Google search app (opens in new tab), which any rational person would think doesn't influence their home screen, changed a fundamental function and design of the app drawer of my launcher. Alright, maybe it had a big changelog in the Play Store explaining this and I just missed it ... check the app listing: "WHAT'S NEW: We've updated Google. Look for our new app icon." Well, that's been the changelog for weeks now since Google changed its logo.

So Google pushed out an update to the Google search app, to folks with automatic updates turned on, that had a major material change to the way a different app works — and in the end, there was no notification, no splash page, no changelog or anything of the sort. I, as a long-time editor at an Android news site, was genuinely confused by this whole situation. The Google Now Launcher has 10 to 50 million installs, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who was confused today.

Why the heck would Google think this is the right thing to do to the rest of the "normal" people out there? I have no idea ... because this is precisely the wrong way to handle an app update.

Why the heck would Google think this is the right way to do an update?

This specific situation is frustrating because we all interact with our launchers dozens (hundreds?) of times a day, and randomly changing things without notice is really noticeable. But it's not really acceptable in any of Google's other apps when it does the same thing. Is it really that hard to just have an up-to-date changelog in the Play Store? No, not really. Is it tough to do a quick "what's new" pop-up or splash page when you open the updated app? A little harder, but no, not really. But any of these things would go a long way to actually informing users of what's happening when things change.

Please, Google, don't just change my launcher without any warning or notification. I love new designs and new features, but I really hate being confused because my phone somewhat-randomly changed without my prior knowledge. This is a solvable problem.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

405 Comments
  • Holy shit I just noticed Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Hey its actually faster. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • It's a lot better. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very fast indeed. Posted via my S6 on the Android Central App
  • Me too! Too bad I didn't read this article first or I might have been prepared to see all my apps on one page.
  • Sorry but what's so good about Google launcher? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It looks like stock lollipop and puts Google Now one swipe over from your home screen. Nice to look at and easy to use Posted via the Android Central App
  • But very limited customization (one of the key strengths of Android), and pretty useless if you don't use Google Now. I prefer Nova Prime (and even like the new TouchWiz better than GN launcher).
  • Idk if it's me but I've gotten tired of customization...I just want a phone that's really fast and has all the apps I want
  • Then don't customize put all of your apps on the home screen and call it a day dude. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Then get an iPhone ;)
    Seriously though, just came from a 6plus to Note 5 and i'm loving it. I can customize how I want, run emulators easily side load apps, music and movies and the camera is phenomenal. Having said all the that the apps that are available on iPhone and Android do not run quite as smoothly on Android like they do on the iPhone. Hearthstone for example force closes randomly and often, a lot of games i had on my iPhone that are also on android don't even open on my Note 5, the app choices are also much slimmer on android. So if you want customization and ability to do pretty much whatever you want. get an android, if you want a phone that has all the apps and just works, get an Iphone
  • I'm not a huge fan of Xposed framework, but the XGELS module gives GNL almost as much customization as Nova. That's why GNL is my favorite, and Nova is my backup for whenever an update to the Google app breaks XGELS for a bit.
  • You can add a Google Now widget to the entire screen just next to the home screen, and have the same google now "one swipe away" experience with any launcher ....
  • I can simply tap on an icon to get GN up. So that's not anything that really matters. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't think it all that great. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You can turn off the app suggestions easy enough. But the vertical scrolling is unforgivable. This isn't HTC guys. Back to Nova I go. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Relax Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh I'm cool as a cucumber but when Google just up and forces an entirely different orientation on users with zero heads up or way to change, that's not ok. Muscle memory from years is suddenly wrong.. Fun! Installing an entirely different launcher is a poor solution. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh, hey, google did that a while ago when they switched from vertical to horizontal a few years back. Now they decided Vertical is better again.* Would it be nice if they said more in the update description? yes, of course, but you always have the option to change launchers, no reason to get heated about it regardless. *personally i think that after a moment or two to adapt (thats like forever right?) it is quicker. no need to flip through a few pages to get to the app i want, now just a quick flick and you can scroll through the whole list of apps if i desire. The added Suggested Apps can always be turned off.
  • I don't want to change launchers...I love GNL, but I hate that damn vertical drawer!! Why can't I just have a toggle to change it???
  • The vertical scrolling's better this time, because it has a scrollbar with alphabetic tags, so you can quickly scroll down to where the app you're looking for shows up.
  • Pretty sure an update will soon offer the option. Posted via the MATERIAL AC App
  • "The added Suggested Apps can always be turned off." Can you explain, please? I can't see how to do that.
  • Google Now -> Settings -> Home Screen/App Suggestions (On/Off)
  • Thanks!
  • It's ok, give it a couple of months they will make it scroll diagonally just to mess with everyone.
  • Dude it's done the milk is spilt stop crying Posted via the Android Central App
  • So, just bend over and take it? lay back and enjoy it? Pass. Hello Nova! Have you missed me?
  • Yeah! I just went there. I don't like the way there redone it. I liked local news, local events, local recommendations, and recommendations regarding the evening's tv schedule, Weather, driving times, etcetera. The present display is just downright boring. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree totally. But I just recently had my dailer keyboard layout changed and I don't know how or when. Did Sprint or HTC do it? The menu key has always been at the top left of keypad. Now it is bottom right. Muscle memory is hard to change after years,but more troubling are the changes without notice, and that is infuriating! Has anyone else noticed a change to native dailer keypad layout? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's not a big deal Google doesn't care what you want. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's usuable for me now. I like the change.. Wonder how long before I go back to nova, or try action launcher 3 or for 30 minutes like I usually do Posted via the Android Central App
  • AC3 just added a vertical drawer with search and stuff just like this update. I like it. But there's also a toggle to switch it back to horizontal if you want. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The vertical option has been in AC3 for a couple months now. Posted via the MATERIAL AC App
  • At least my Nexus 5 (work phone) will match my HTC (home phone) now - you know it makes Sense. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I see what you did there.
  • Anyone notice how horrible the Google search app; is now? When you go to the Google Now page or click Google search the Google logo takes up 3/4 of the page! The search bar used to lineup with the top search bar on the launcher but now they decided to make it fill almost the whole screen. This blows as Google Now information requires you to scroll down to get just about anything, even weather updates! On the old Google page you could get like 3-4 Google Now items in the list to appear without scrolling. It just made it easier as that was what Google Now was created for. Was it really necessary to show a huge 2x4 area of the Google logo. Also then Google adds insult to injury by adding these update bar notifiers which say, "Updates for you", "stories to read" and this takes up another row of what you could fit four icons across the screen, I mean WTF?! Google makes horrible design choices and people praise them for it, WTF?!
  • Oh please STFU! You don't have to stick with the Google launcher if you hate it that much. Just install a new one. Do you want some Damn cheese with that whine? As for the vertical launcher, I think it's awesome! It's way quicker to get to your apps and Google employed the same ideology with the widgets which is a heaven send! The Damn widget drawer was painfully awful before this update. This is one of those updates that if you don't like it, I'd pretty much venture to say there's not much about anything that you like! Because, this update was a total no brainer! I currently use the Nexus 6 and the vertical scroll is a way more user friendly motion than horizontal with such a wide phone. It just works ten times better! I'm really interested to know why anyone would have a problem with the vertical scroll. Or, better yet, how is the horizontal page scroll superior to the vertical? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Reread his comment. He is not talking about the launcher, he is talking about Google Now itself. Secondly that change may be great for you however that does not mean it is great for everyone, and as was stated in the article changes of that scope should always be mentioned in a change log. It doesn't matter how good the change is, that isn't something to be excused. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "You can turn off the app suggestions easy enough." Can you explain, please? I can't find how to do that.
  • Long press screen, settings, turn off app suggestions... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks!
  • My God, some people have such a difficult time accepting any change (even good change, in this case). It's much easier to flick your thumb up or down to quickly scroll through your entire list of apps than it is to thumb through page after page of apps. What a whiny article. I expect better from you guys.
  • Accepting change isn't the argument. The argument is when something changes to something you own without you being told. You don't want Ford coming and putting a 4 cylinder in your mustang without you being told, right?
  • Do you honestly believe that's an equivalent analogy?
  • No shit, right?! Posted via the Android Central App
  • +10000 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Car analogies are the absolute worst. They are so silly and incorrectly used 98% of the time. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Most analogies are bad. Haha Posted via the Android Central App
  • Analogies are like eating soup with chopsticks.
  • I replied to a stupid comment with a stupid comment. That's how this internet thing works.
  • Poor recovery. Posted via the Android Central App
  • maybe this one will be better... its like when you take your new mustang in for an oil change, and without telling you they update the PCM, and this update changes some of the functionality of the "Track Apps". then you no longer have have the ability to use the line locks or launch mode
  • He must believe it's a legitimate comparison or he wouldn't put it out there for the whole world to see! Only someone who believes something that stupid would actually say it! LMAO! Posted via the Android Central App
  • You agreed to it with automatic updates.
  • That doesn't mean it's not a shitty way of doing things. Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • He still would have done it, change log said they updated the icon...
  • I didn't spend 20 grand on the Google Now Launcher, and the update actually improved the functionality rather than downgrading it. That's a terrible analogy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But Ford did put a 4 cylinder in the mustang and plenty people buy it lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • The thing is, it's Google. Doesn't matter what you say.
    What are we going to do? Stop using Android? Ha!
  • I think you can long press the drawer icon and go straight to search. Even faster than scrolling. Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 via Android Central App
  • That's true Posted via the Android Central App
  • OMG YOU SAVED MY LIFE
  • Some people need to understand that advancements in tech are moving along rather quickly. Some people need to go back to a flip phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Advancements in tech? Did they swap everyone that uses Google Now with newer SoC's? I wouldn't call an unwarranted navigational change an advancement in tech... (I ain't even mad about the change) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Software is a technology
  • Is this subtle UI change really an advancement in tech...? Lol. That was my whole point. Thought it was easy to catch. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Then why reference hardware?
  • Doesn't take much to get nailed to the nerd cross around here. Lighten up please. Posted via the Android Central App
  • While I agree vertical is way better, I can relate to people being annoyed. Google needs to make up their damn mind, Android use to be Vertical then switched to horizontal with Honeycomb, now they seem to be changing again with upcoming marshmallow. For the longest time I ran an aftermarket launcher to keep vertical scrool, eventually I caved and got use to horizontal, am going to have to do it all over again with marshmallow, but reversed? That would bug me. Now to my real annoyance with Google, the change logs! Facebook and messenger have had the same freaking change log for like six months now!!! You should not be allowed to put the same change log over and over and there should be some sort of minimum character limit too. I've been tired of this for a while and I'm ready to stop allowing app updates until this is remedied. I like to read change logs, she what going on and I'm not comfortable with apps updating and not telling me what they are doing, especially when there's no stand out changes.
  • Yes, yes, yes. Change logs should reflect what's changed in THIS version, not just the major update. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed. Just looks lazy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not his point. And it happened to me without automatic updates.
  • This has nothing to do with whether the change its good or not. It's about not informing the user what the changes are. Are you seriously saying google shouldn't have updated the what's new section and let people know the new update changes the app draw. What good is the what's new section then if it's not even in use. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Okay. But is it really a big enough deal to warrant an entire whiny article? A sentence or two would have sufficed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, this really did warrant an entire article. It's a small problem we experience several times a day. It's Chinese water torture. It's really small enough to fix, but too many developers are just letting it slide. Until they get backlash, they have no reason to change. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's way easier FOR ME to know 'root explorer is always on page 3"
  • What? Seriously? You have to flip/swipe three times to get there before as opposed to just long pressing the app button and typing or, drag your thumb down the page once until you see the letter R! C'mon now! You're joking right? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I typically love change. I love the majority of design decisions that Google makes regarding Android. I also remember the vertical scroll drawer on Android 1, 1.5, 1.6, etc. To try and emphasize how well I embrace change in Android, the only two changes that have annoyed me since I began using the OS in 2008 are: (1) when the swipe to the right to return to conversation list screen was removed from Hangouts, and (2) this. I love change. However, this change has been a bit of a challenge. I only had 4-5 pages of apps, and had muscle memory developed as to how many swipes through pages it took to access different apps. The vertical scroll is making it take measurably longer to find and launch apps -- in addition to needing to stare at my screening more intently (i.e., if I'm interacting with the phone while walking or watching TV). I'm sure I will get used to it, but since the update I've felt a bit frustrated every time I open the app drawer. I haven't gotten any faster at launching those apps that fall somewhere between the beginning and end of the list either (obviously apps at the very top and very bottom are pretty easy...). Vertical scroll for apps was one of the only things I didn't like about the OS UI for Windows Phone.
  • Yeah, it kinda threw me for a loop at first, but I decided to roll with it. After all, this is coming in Marshmallow anyway; I guess Google decided to let us get used to it first before the big update.
  • Exactly Posted via the Android Central App
  • I thought my phone got an OS update overnight. Lol. So mad when it was still 5.0.1 and saw it was just a Google App update... Ugh. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wouldn't use the Google launcher because of the horizontal scroll.. Vertical us way better.. Especially on Nova when you tighten the grid and 1 scroll up or down take you to the top or bottom.
  • And here i just finished watching The Terminator....
    ..
    ..
    Skynet Posted via the Android Central App
  • *eyeroll* Tired joke is tired. This post has +5 to topic derailment
  • Google has always been horrible with their change logs. Inexcusable. There was a good bit of talk about the change though, so I'm surprised it caught you unawares. Although, it's all over G+, people posting screenshots and saying "WTF?" so a lot of android geeks seem to have been surprised. I'm sure "normal" folks were pretty confused by it. Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 via Android Central App
  • You tell 'em Andrews! I've never liked Google Now launcher, personally, but I have been rather annoyed at changes Google has made to other apps recently, such as Photos and Android Pay. Someone has to set then straight!
  • How dare you question the almighty Google! They know what's best for your launcher. If they want your opinion, they will give it to you! Stuff like this is why I use NOVA and updates from Google and other Devs that screw up an app is why I'm rooted and use TiBu. *The boy you trained, gone he is. Consumed by Darth Vader.*
  • Nova makes design decisions about their launcher as well.
  • Is this satire?
  • I somewhat agree with Andrew. When I got a bunch of updates yesterday all of a sudden my app drawer was vertical scroll. 'Cool' I thought. I went to the Play Store to see the change description for Google Now Launcher and there wasn't any. GNL didn't even get updated. Confused I stared looking through the other apps that got updated and couldn't find anything about the vertical scroll. I guessed it would have been tied to the Google Search app being updated, but it didn't say anything in the description. Would be nice if Google communicated something like that to us. Also updating the search application for a launcher function doesn't make sense. Should have come through with a GNL update. Even still, I'm not too upset as I prefer vertical scroll. Always feels faster to me than paginated horizontal scroll. But they should have notified us in the description of the app update.
  • The thing is this wasn't a surprise to any of us in the Android world. Google announced the vertical scroll awhile back. I'm not sure what's up with this article. I'm guessing it's for weekend clicks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yup, had been expecting it,
    http://www.androidpolice.com/2015/09/19/tip-the-latest-version-of-the-go...
  • Whether it was known through other means or not doesn't change the fact that Google should have had it on the change log. It's what the change log is for... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Personally i dont mind the change... is quite good in fact Posted via the Android Central App
  • In my opinion, Vertical Desktops and Virtual App Drawers are better. I just find them easier to navigate.. But seriously Google? Warn people before doing things like this!
  • I've never understood anyone's need for such a limiting launcher. If you can't hide those apps you don't want to disable but don't need to see, I'm not interested and don't understand. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There's a lot of us who just want a simply Launcher with quick access to Google Now. I jump between the Now Launcher and Nova and even when I'm using Nova I don't hide apps.
  • I don't like launchers that have too many options. It's beyond me why anyone would want to spend any amount of time configuring a launcher. Posted via the Android Central App
  • you can...it's called xposed. and it makes GNL perfect! ...but that damn vertical drawer is inexcusable!!
  • I agree with this, and the ability to hide an app doesn't make a launcher complicated. It's a single option, that you don't have to use, if you don't want to. I think this is the only thing missing from the GN Launcher, and maybe the ability to lock the homescreen layout. I have it on my mom's phone, and the ability to hide apps she doesn't need to worry about or use, would make her usage a lot easier for her. And for me, that has to answer questions for her about why there are two calendars, or any other uninstallable app she didn't like, so I downloaded a better one for her. And no, I'm not rooting her phone, just to remove them.
  • Here's the thing: Google has become one of the worst offenders by no longer updating the "What's New" section of the Play Store Listing for their apps. They are supposed to set an example, but so many of their apps have the same "What's New" text from release to release so it's impossible to tell what they have changed. Definitely not leading by example.
  • I think it's something about store owners, because Microsoft does the same thing in the Windows store. Change log? Lol! Posted via the Android Central App on my Droid Turbo
  • I actually really like the update however completely agree with you. Also why was this as a result of a change to the Google app and not the Google now launcher? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Because the Google Now Launcher IS the Google app. The "Google Now Launcher" icon in your app drawer is just a key that enables the launcher functionality in the Google app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1. ^this... Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's a huge improvement. The better question is why people weren't anticipating this and complaining that it hadn't already happened - like with every other new feature.
  • It was like this years ago, and when google changed it the world cheered, for good reason. now they're going back to the old terrible way of good luck finding anything, flipping up and down wildly, looking for that damn app again
  • I'm fine with disagreeing :)
  • How is it any harder to find an app scrolling vertically vs horizontally, when they're in alphabetical order either way. Unless it suddenly rearranged the letters, I fail to see how it would be more difficult.
  • There's a reason we use books now not scrolls. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's not really a good comparison. You aren't rolling up 100ft of phone trying to find an app in random order, nor are you flipping pages like a book and reading front and back with horizontal scrolling. It's the exact same scrolling process, in different directions. Just about every app on your phone scrolls horizontally. Hold your phone in landscape, now you have horizontal scrolling again.
  • Point is that if I know an app is on page 3 horizontally it's a lot quicker to go "swipe, swipe, swipe" and I'm there, than if I know that it's about a third of the way down a list that I have to "swipe, *watch scrolling* *oops not far enough*, swipe, *watch scrolling* *oops too far*, swipe the other way, *nearly there*, small swipe, got it!" Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed.
  • Or you could just, like... Type the first letter or two of the app? There's a search bar right there. Long press the app drawer button and it'll take you right to that bar. !uch quicker than paging through apps anyway.
  • I respect and understand you have a preference, luckily there are plenty of other launchers for you to download and set up the way you want. But, I'm going to disagree with your example, most people use the app drawer for apps they seldom or never use. They don't memorize where everything is, it's always changing as you install/uninstall apps, anyway. That's what home screens are for, all your regular use apps, where you want and memorized. So, the app drawer example is more like swipe...check the letter, swipe...check the letter...swipe too far, swipe back. They have no idea what page it's on. Unless it's something like YouTube and they know it's at the end, which took me 4 swipes to get to, now only takes one. Or, you know, that new app drawer search bar finds it right away, with no scrolling, just type a couple letters and the app comes up. Either way, the once or twice a week I need an app not on a homescreen, vertical scroll works better and quicker for my usage.
  • "swipe, swipe, swipe" would actually take you to the 4th page. Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 ^^for the top comment (smh) If you know it's three pages right, in the top left corner, why wait for the keyboard.
  • The year was 2015. The autumn air was filled with so much hope and promise--new Nexus phones, new Chromecast devices, USB type C, and fingerprint scanners. Little did I know that these coming delights would be wholly overshadowed by the singular most traumatic experience of my life. After updating the Google Search App, my phone became utterly unusable. Try as I might, I could not scroll horizontally. A search box? Frequently used apps? What could it all mean? Why would Google do this to me? My mind was racing, trying to place what slight (real or imagined, significant or minuscule) could have brought such ruin and destruction upon my Android experience. Was I to blame? Or had Google finally turned on us, overwhelmed by its power and the promise of more? It was then that I knew, against all hope, that the world would never be the same. Let no man, woman, or child deny that Google had finally turned to the dark side. My eyes brimming with tears, I called out into the darkness, "Don't be evil...!" Yeah, this is the last week I have to work late on Friday nights...
  • Oh man I love it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • By the way, Andrew Martonik, the change you describe in your post is almost exactly how the app drawer works in the latest version of Chris Lacy's Action Launcher. I use Nova Launcher on my phone and Action Launcher on my tablet, and immediately changed the Action Launcher tablet app drawer look and feel after the last upgrade. The new feature was announced in "What's New" for Action Launcher, but no where did it say it would change my setting and become the default. I think some developers are taking liberties lately ...
  • In other words this wasn't a surprise. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why does a third party developer changing their launcher mean this was no surprise? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Am I the only one who feels that this article is just a grown man whining? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I know right? I use the stock Touchwiz launcher on my Note 3, and you don't hear me complaining about anything.
  • Kind of ... Feels like nitpicking. Don't see anything wrong with auto update and change as long as the launcher is not crashing. But that is my personal opinion as I'm open and welcome to change.
  • I'm surprised he's surprised. I'm just an android fan (not making my living off it) and I knew this was coming a good while before the update rolled out. The point about Google never providing a change log is valid. They're as bad as Facebook. And you never want to be as bad as Facebook. Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 via Android Central App
  • I think the real issue was it wasn't actually a Google Now Launcher update, which is weird. I know it caught me off guard. First thing I did was check to see if GNL updated and I stared in confusion as it shows it hasn't even seen an update in 2015... Posted via the Android Central App
  • GNL is a function of the search app, not a stand alone program... Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's weird because all of us in the "know" have known about this for awhile now. There is no way Andrew was surprised by this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I disagree. I don't have auto update set for any of my apps (too many updates borked some functionality, changed permissions, or didn't work for me) and spend quite a bit of time reading comments after an update to see if I'll be OK updating. If devs would simply write accurate changelogs, I'd waste a lot less time. Posted via Moto Turbo
  • "So Google pushed out an update to the Google search app, to folks with automatic updates turned on, that had a major material change to the way a different app works — and in the end, there was no notification, no splash page, no changelog or anything of the sort." The thing is that it's NOT a different app. Google Now Launcher itself is basically an extension of Google Search. When Now Launcher debuted pretty much of all of the Android sites did stories about this fact and there was a fair amount of controversy over it, as I recall. So while I agree that it would have been nice for Google to give some warning that Now Launcher was going to have a different look and feel, it does make some sense that updates to Search would affect Now Launcher.
  • Dude there has been tons of warning. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Alex wrote an article last week about it changing, soon. I've been expecting and waiting for it since then. Not a surprise at all. Andrew must not pay attention to any articles he doesn't write. http://www.androidcentral.com/google-app-update-enables-now-tap-marshmal...
  • I wonder why Andrew wrote this article? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Changing the way the app drawer scrolls is not confusing at all and is relatively minor. When Google moved away from vertical scrolling in favor of horizontal scrolling it was a change I didn't welcome but I eventually got used to it. Now I'll just get have to get used to vertical scrolling again.
  • Ah!... But for how long?
  • All this does is bringing all devices running GNL in line with the new Nexusss coming out. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If anyone who has used a Google app for a longer period of time, then they should know that Google constantly does background update without people's constant knowledge. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Or you could just use a much better custom launcher
  • Touchwiz home, for one Posted via the Android Central App
  • TW works for me Posted via the Android Central App
  • My thoughts as well. "Don't like the product? Stop buying." Posted via the Android Central App
  • So if your home screen suddenly changed, you wouldn't have a WTF moment? That's the issue here. No one really knew it was coming. You don't have to dislike the change to see it was an odd thing to happen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • His home screen didn't change.
  • Really, couldn't get my point? Smh.
  • No, not when your logic is specious.
  • You don't know what "if" means? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I actually have the settings that were changed set up that way in Nova Launcher. With Google Now activated with double tap on the Home button. You can easily customize Nova to be like the old Google Now launcher if one would want it...I never liked scrolling sideways for Apps so mine already scrolls vertical. Install Nova Andrew and have peace of mind... Posted via Serenity
  • It reminds me of the M Preview on my Nexus 5 (which it is from) and that's a good thing to me. I like it a lot and was looking forward to Marshmallow's app drawer. That among doze and many other things. Nexus 5 | T-Mobile $30 Plan
  • Wait, they didn't consult you first? Bastards. #firstworldproblems
  • Haha Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly what I was thinking. OMG Google did not consult me personally before making a change to an app???!!! How dare they! I demand it be taken down and me notified by writing within 3 days before any change is made. Google doesn't have to tell us squat if they don't choose too. If they asked and bent to every single persons desire who runs android then we would never have an app that was functional, simple, and quick.
  • The issue here is making changes but not update the changelog. This is a very serious issue because a lot of people here are thinking of themselves and not of the non-technical and mostly old people who can get seriously lost on how to navigate their devices that they could before. And then find that even the person who usually helps them can't find information anywhere about what has changed and how is changed. This leads to a situation where you learn of the changes as you go, which is not a workable situation when you're tech support to your family and friends. It's people who are on these forums can easily cope with these undocumented changes but not the kind of people I've mentioned above. No one said a developer must first ask permission before making changes. What's part of good programming practices is documenting changes. Posted via the AC App from SM-N910F
  • Well said; some of the straw man arguments people are using here are beyond silly. If Google can't be bothered to use a proper change log then why should other app developers, really Google are quite poor at following their own guidelines. Posted via Android Central App
  • Thank God for Nova Launcher. :)
  • Quit your Damn whining something witty. . .
  • Yes!!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm more than happy for the vertical scrolling, always disliked horizontal. Posted via Nexus 6
  • It's been this way for a while now if you've grabbed the apk before it was released globally in the Play Store. No BIGGIE Posted.
  • I prefer the vertical scroll. But I changed to that on my Nexus 6 awhile back through Nova. This article does come off as slightly whiny to be honest. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thank you!!! It seems like an Apple fanboy wrote an article just to whine! Posted via the Android Central App
  • they screwed up android pay as well AC@OPO
  • I was pretty surprised and confused, and I agree with Andrew's argument that Google shouldn't just spring stuff like this without warning, but I like the change. I HATED having to flip horizontally through all the pages of my apps. The smooth, vertical scrolling is much better IMO.
  • Get used to it as its the same UI that's going to be on Android M aka "Marshmallow" 6.0. The apps will go to vertical scroll only. Posted via Android Central App
  • It changed for me yesterday. I had been on my phone minutes earlier and when I went back to go open an app, it was vertical scroll in the app drawer. Since I've been bouncing around between Lolllipop roms and the Marshmallow preview, I thought for a second I had flashed a new rom and didn't remember. It was trippy for a minute. I even went to the About Phone section on my Nexus 6 and it was still stock 5.1.1 like before. I found that there was no mention of the change on the Google app page. It's not a big deal but it was definitely jarring for me. I actually like the vertical scroll better and don't mind the recent app thing at the top of the app drawer.
  • How could you work in this field and not know if they were changing this? Updates been out for about a week and a half
  • That's the worst changelog I've seen for an Android app yet. Doesn't even remotely mention the changes. That said, as much as I like the Google launcher, Nova Prime is still my cup-of-tea. Way more options to customize.
  • Only noticed this due to this article. Wish Google would at least warn us about this stuff Posted via the Android Central App
  • Icons are to big, no grid size, really cannot use Google launcher Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am having the same issue with the icons not feeling huge on my screen.
  • It's not just that that was changed. Just did the update in the play store manually. I had my most used apps in a "folder" on my center home screen or whatever it's called. They lowered the amount of icons that can fit in one folder and now I have to scroll over to see them all, kind of defeating the purpose of it being a shortcut. Just like Google, why have one tap when you can have 10.
  • "we all interact with our launchers dozens (hundreds?) of times a day" I don't, I put regular apps on my home screens and only go to the launcher fit the infrequent apps and surely I'm not the only one?
  • Psst...The home screen is part of the launcher.
  • This reads like it was written by an Apple fanboy. C'mon now ... If you leave auto updates on and, in addition, click 'update all' when you manually update, then you really only have yourself to blame. Here's the thing: even if this change to your launcher hadn't happened the way it did (by Google updating a diff app that still affected the launcher) what would've happened if Google had made this very same change by actually issuing an update to the launcher itself? You have auto update turned on so, again, the launcher Still would have been modified the same way b/c you're foolish enough to go w 'auto update' and 'update all' as your default actions. I just can't believe that anyone as tech savvy as you (and who writes for AC, no less) would take this approach. And then whining about it on top of it ... not a good look. btw, have you ever taken time to read the reviews of Google apps? Users ALWAYS complain about the latest updates. Rarely do you ever see recent 4 or 5* reviews on Google apps. This alone is reason to never leave app updates in auto mode. I know you have multiple devices, but with so many bad updates (not just Google ones) it really is worth the time to do manual updates on case by case basis, after reading user comments about how udpates are working out.
  • I totally get what your saying Andrew but I would think u knew, (especially u), this was coming, I forgot where I read this, ( it could of been here) or DroidLife but I knew it was happening just not exactly when. I like when u long press on the app drawer circle it opens. I agree Google should of alerted us though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well said! Google needs to do a lot of things better and this is one of them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree with Andrew. But I also like the new update. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I thought this was coming as part of marshmallow but up down or side to side , didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's a phone!! More important stuff coming down the pike. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Totally agree with you, I'm just really used to side swiping my app drawer. There should be a setting to change it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just wish there was an option to turn off the persistent search bar at the top of each page. I use "Hey Google" so it's useless and takes up space. If I need to type something in, I could just swipe to the right to open Google Now. Please Google give us some options.
  • Noticed the update on Wednesday evening. Still trying to swipe horizontality when I first open the app drawer... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't really mind it BUT I wish their were alternative options aka having the option to turn vertical scrolling off etc or leave it on if you like. I'm sure Google could do that. It should be simple no? Like a dark theme for one example Posted via the Android Central App
  • The ability of the Google fanboys to justify anything Google does rivals the Apple sycophants worshipping at the feet of the remains of Steve Jobs. It's MY DAMN PHONE, not Google's. Don't change it without asking if I want it changed, and giving me the option to say "No!," or revert if I don't like the change. If Samsung did something like this, the cult of "pure Android" would be shouting about how evil Samsung is.
  • Google is the new Apple. "We know what's best for you. We don't need to care about what you want." In fairness, though, it's not just Google. I've used Nova Launcher for a long time, and the latest version completely changed how it works, and not for the better.
  • You are right. It "does rivals". It's your phone but Google's app. Don't like it, get something else or make your own.
  • You can't be serious. The scrolling app drawer was announced weeks ago. This isn't a surprise. Posted via the Android Central App
  • To you maybe but it clearly is to many people. Posted via Android Central App
  • This article was written about it on September 17. http://m.androidcentral.com/google-app-update-enables-now-tap-marshmallo... Posted via the Android Central App
  • So what, it doesn't mean every one of the billion Android users have read it. I'd be surprised if more than a few thousand have even read it, certainly not the 10+ million who use the Now Launcher. Posted via Android Central App
  • I definitely had a "did it always scroll vertically?" moment today and a "were those icons always at the top?"
  • Andrew, would you completely fine with the change if they just informed us it was changing? I'm not going to lie, I was a little thrown off when I saw the change you, also did some searching to find the culprit Posted via the Android Central App
  • You auto update all your apps? Without reading individual reviews for the updates??? Seriously???? Posted via the Android Central App
  • OMG, are Android users starting to drink the Google Kool Aid? Everyone here sounds like Apple users defending their OS. No, vertical is not better. No, it's not ok to make major UI updates without a change log. Launches are very personal to users, and making a change like this without a heads up is ridiculous. Get off the Google bandwagon people, just because Google does something doesn't mean it's automatically ok.
  • It's a launcher. One of many in the store. Don't like it? Choose another.
  • It's a comment. One of many. Don't like it? Read another. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nah. It's more fun to comment, but I appreciate the suggestion.
  • No kidding. It's one of the most brain dead launchers ever made, but these Google groupies worship it.
  • No launcher is sentient, to my knowledge.
  • Its not bad. I like it. Good update Google!
  • Did you miss when Google now became a launcher then google search was subsumed into that? Search hasn't been a separate app for quite some time now.
  • Totally confused why it happened too. Couldn't recall if I updated anything. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love it. But I read about this stuff. I knew it was coming. I appreciate that most did not. Totally agree with the sentament. Posted via the Android Central App from my LG G4
  • In one swipe, I can go through my ENTIRE app list. If that were horizontal, it'd take SIX (default 4x6.) Remind me on why vertical scrolling app lists "aren't better." Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah. No (manual) updates at all today, but there it was.
  • I saw this coming. When the Google app first changed, it took a while for it to get to DP3. Individuals...including myself, running DP3 (on the nexus 5) were attempting to change PRIV. sys files files in order to enable the app. The method worked. However, vertical scrolling was disabled. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=3192587 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Boy, I sure hope Andrew gets a very detailed list of EVERYTHING that's new and different in Marshmallow, and in the two upcoming Nexus devices, so that he's not surprised/incensed that Google did something without either asking first or explaining immediately. Seriously, this could have been reported in a much more useful (and much less whiny) manner. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Something also happened to the apps that display when I click on my folders on my nexus 6 screen. There used to be five columns with five rows of apps, now there's four and four. The rest went to a second page within the folder window. THAT was annoying... I had to rearrange my apps again. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Cough cough Nova Launcher Cough Cough Posted via the Android Central App
  • The "recent" section of the app drawer can be disabled in the settings. This is good for me, because I never wanted that. I don't mind that the drawer now scrolls vertically
  • Also, my app didn't auto update. I only knew about this because of your article
  • Yep completely agree Andrew. Google is next to useless when it comes to actually updating it's what's new. It rarely changes even if things do get changed big or small. Series if it wasn't for sites like ac, no one would ever know what was in these updates. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Vertical has made it quicker and smoother than the horizontal version and it's quite easy now to quickly scroll, no delays! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I hope the vertical app drawer dies a fiery death in the depths of hell
  • It's just one launcher. Don't like it, choose another.
  • While I completely agree with everything said in the post, are you seriously surprised by this? I mean, arent you supposed to be in the know on these things? Wasn't the Google Now Launcher in the Android M beta's for supported Nexus phones just like this months ago? Sure it isn't guaranteed to be final visual changes, but it was apparent that they were changing the layout a bit.
  • Thanks for NOT letting me know you were going to post a complaint article. /s. Relax man... Posted via the Android Central App
  • One of the reasons I have been using Nova Prime for about 4 years now. I get a consistent experience across all my devices and nothing changes unless I want it to. Posted via Android Central App from a beautiful Ebony backed Original Moto X or the amazing Nexus 10
  • I've never been a fan of this ugly launcher anyway. It doesn't gives you any options to do anything! At least they could give the option to use the old white cards swipe on the drawers rather than the scrolling. Posted via the ONE M9
  • Xposed GEL settings. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed. Google is the most amateur billion dollar company on earth. I have absolutely no need for a search bar in my app drawer and absolutely no reason for a most used section... Those most used apps are on my home screen. I don't understand how anyone can stand the kindergarten sized icons in the Google launcher. It's like everyone at Google must have bad eyes and not use glasses.
  • Troll
  • I'm thinking they have one 14-year-old on GNL development. Probably the same kid who faked building a clock.
  • Google Now Launcher, Touchwiz, and most other launchers are brain dead, anyway. Imagine if you clicked the start button on Windows and up popped a vertical scrolling page after page of everything you had on your computer. And the only way to organize it was to create folders on your desktop. That's Google Now Launcher/Touchwiz/Nova, etc. (although Nova is a little better). Smart Launcher Pro 3 for the win. Not only does it categorize your apps for you, the search function works better. It searches for substrings. In GNL, you can type "rad" and find nothing, even though you have a number of radio apps. That's because the app names don't start with "rad".
  • Nice ad.
  • Lol yep. Even in this new layout Google Now Launcher still wins for me though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Now go and say that to everyone who praises Nova Prime (which I also have). Idiot.
  • Most are less egregious then your product felating.
  • Nova Prime is my favorite launcher to date. I decided to swap out the stock LG UX launcher with Nova Prime after using it on my custom ROM-rocking devices. Simply put, I love the seemingly endless customization potential.
  • Your mistake is thinking google is a consumer software firm rather than a vendor of ad delivery platforms that doesn't give a damn about end users.
  • Exactly. Facebook is all about ads as well... I can't believe people share fb ads to their own time line lol dummies... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use smart launcher 3 free version and it's quite good but with the latest update (a while ago) I could not activate Google now voice launcher Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oops sorry this is for the above post... Anyway let it stay Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've got Pro and it works. Maybe it's a difference between free and pro, I don't know.
  • Okok maybe I'll check that out Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's all about da money Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like vertical scrolling. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like pie.
  • I like trains
  • I like planes Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like cars (I really do. My favorite car right now is the Lexus LFA. What I might end up driving is a Mazda 2, however. Would love to own a BMW M4 someday. Passed my Driver's Ed on Monday)
  • I like scrolling app drawers. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like hovering app drawers. XD
  • You guy like dick Posted via the Android Central App
  • You need to be banned from the comments section. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So do you for being a smart ass Posted via the Android Central App
  • So as a long time editor at an android site you didn't know that the now launcher was updated via google search app? And I'm sorry but vertical scrolling is far superior when you have the option to hide all the totally unnecessary app icons you never use from the app drawer, that's why I chose Apex, google now look with vertical scrolling with the ability to hide any app icons from app drawer, which is probably over half the apps I have installed. All a matter of preference though, and one of the reasons that makes android great.
  • Stop crying and uninstall the update! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Gonna be kinda hard to uninstall when 6.0 drops LoL Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep Posted via the Android Central App
  • It isn't lime the GN launcher is all that spectacular. I see the appeal but you get what you get with google +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • I use an older XGELS compatible Google app version. Fuck Google and fuck auto updates Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have a Nexus. The problem is solved. Nova. Now if I could just disable that pesky Google app. Fix it, Google. Goodbye, Galaxy Nexus... Hello Nexus 6
  • First off like most people I use Nova Launcher. You can't hide apps that you can't disable with the Google launcher nor can you change your grid, nor can you change your icon look and feel. There are too many app developers who have amazingly ugly icons on the Google Play Store. I see why Apple forces developers to follow a theme because a lot of them don't have a clue as to what actually looks good. No way I could have a launcher that doesn't allow icon packs. That said- it might suck for some people, but honestly I hardly ever go into my app drawer since my favorite apps are in folders on my home screen. I would think that if you're going into your app drawer hundreds of times a day then maybe you should just have an iPhone where your app drawer is your only page. But even an iPhone has folders. Quite the rant. Posted via the GS6 Active, aka GS6 M.E. (Manly Edition)
  • I've never been a fan of the Google launcher anyway. Nova is my go to launcher for all my phones and tablets. Posted via Note 5/AC App...
  • Well, the Google launcher is pretty simple. There's really not much customization you can do to it. It's just a launcher.
  • It's a simple launcher for simple people.
  • I don't like GNL because of the icons. The standard android icons are problematic for me, the non-uniform sizes appearance is not to my liking. Posted via the AC App from SM-N910F
  • I just unlocked the bootloader on my phone on Wednesday. I noticed it then, but didn't think much of it since I loaded up CM right after Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think this is the perfect opportunity to mention one of the many beauties of Android. Choice. It's not just the number of devices and OEM skins. It applies to launchers as well. Have a phone rocking TouchWiz/LG UX/Sense/ZenUI/MIUI? Don't like the default launcher? Have a Nexus/Moto device and think the Google launcher is too barebones? The Play Store has a ton of custom launchers. From our favorite, which is Nova, to even Apex, you just might find the one you like. Whether that's simplicity or endless amounts of customization.
  • Precisely why I read the user comments sorted newest first for each update possibility. There are so many apps that don't disclose pertinent and material changes, grab extra permissions, slow down the performance of the phone or generally are buggy. The user reviews are the best defense against the wild wild west of the Android ecosystem to date.
  • Let's be honest, we all knew this was coming. We all knew this was part of the Google update. Matter of fact I actually went over to apkmirror and downloaded this update just for the scrolling app drawer. This shouldn't have been a surprise to any of us who are deeply involved in tech. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The problem then it's that it is not only those busy in tech that buy phones. Some granny somewhere might find that the Nexus device her grandchild advised her to buy because of better updates and simplicity has changed navigation. The granny then asks the said grandchild about the changes and that grandchild can't find anything about the changes anywhere, even though there is an area dedicated to logging the changes that the developer (who is supposed to set an example for smaller developers) had made and that developer should have used. This is not about whether it's better to scroll vertically or page horizontally. Or even changing the grid layout inside a folder. This is about mentioning such a change in UI. Posted via the AC App from SM-N910F
  • Except the grandchild that advised his grandmother to get the Nexus would have known about this month's ago. http://www.androidpolice.com/2015/05/28/android-m-feature-spotlight-the-... #NoSurprise Posted via the Android Central App
  • @ace Google changed their search application, which impacted the user experience of a completely separate application. I believe it's a reasonable assumption for a lay person to expect the specific application to be modified for such a change. That's the biggest issue I see. The second issue is the complete lack of details/information posted in the changelogs. BTW, those lay people are the majority of users of Android and Google products. That group typically doesn't go out of their way to search what Google or [Company X] has announced. So take that passive aggressive use of a hashtag and keep on walking.
  • Just because you know of something doesn't mean everyone else does. You sound like a whiney know it all; and there is no excuse for Google not to include proper change logs. Posted via Android Central App
  • You got to be kidding me. You're an Android Central reader/commenter and that is what you have to say about this? So when M drops and everybody's devices change are we going to freak out because supposedly Google didn't tell us about it? This is beyond silly. All you are doing is being argumentive for the sake of arguing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I know right. It's crazy how this is being blown out of proportion. And they keep bringing up the fact that not everybody is busy in the tech world, not reading up on news etc. and that old people buy phones as well... yet the only one whining are the people on this site, in this article AND the gy who wrote the article, who's supposedly a long time android news editor :S
  • Here's the proof. http://m.androidcentral.com/google-app-update-enables-now-tap-marshmallo... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I hope you're aware only a tiny amount of people have read that article, you make it sound like this is headline news on the BBC and not a article on a small Android fan site. like I said, just because a few people are aware of something doesn't mean every one is, and it would help if Google included proper information in their app store regarding updates as that gets many more hits than fan sites like AC. Posted via Android Central App
  • Nerd.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Andrew... You really need to turn off auto update and don't just update all either. One would hope that everything works properly on a update that is rolled out, but in the real world of Android this is never guaranteed. I also agree with your sentiments on the lack of a change log. It's pretty sad Google isn't held to a higher standard
  • My sentiment as well! Auto update (or updating at all without reading change logs or user feedback) is like playing Russian roulette.
  • This article was written a week ago. Surprise? http://m.gsmarena.com/google_app_update_on_android_brings_marshmallow_ap... Posted via the Android Central App
  • This article was written back in May. http://www.androidpolice.com/2015/05/28/android-m-feature-spotlight-the-... Posted via the Android Central App
  • In other words we all knew this was coming. #SaveTheDramaForYourMama Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nova is the only launcher for me! Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • I knew this was coming (I installed the apk early on purpose), but even I was surprised that it was pushed officially without a "What's new" splash page or something - I can only imagine what unsuspecting consumers think about the automatic update.
  • Whoa. I figured it out in about 10 seconds...and have coped with it just fine.
  • I agree Andrew Posted via the Android Central App
  • Humans, by nature, are resistant to change. But just roll with it bro.
  • Put that phone down and DO something.........! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah I noticed that too. What's with the app drawer scrolling vertically? And without warning? I noticed last night. I'll admit it's much easier to find things this way now. Posted via the Android Central App via My Nexus 6
  • I'm kind of disappointed this wasn't titled "Okay Google, don't just.." Posted via the Android Central App
  • I got tired of this kind of bullshit from Google, nexus 6 is going up on swappa soon. I'm enjoying being back on iOS with the iPhone 5s.
  • I thought I saw it posted somewhere 2-3 weeks back that this change was coming. Doesn't change the point of the article, but I think the information was out there (if not well publicized). I don't remember where I saw it, but I swear that I did. I've been using Nova, but have played with the Google Now Launcher previously. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually I love the new update especially the app search bar. Its handy for people having many apps, but HTC sense 7 looks better on my moto g3 (literally) ..... Posted via the Android Central App
  • "any rational person would think doesn't influence their home screen, changed a fundamental function and design of the app drawer of my launcher"
    Really? And does that same rational person know that the Google Now Launcher is just a placeholder app and that without the Google app, the Google Now Launcher doesn't work? For any rational person, that kind of hints at a relationship between the two. Hint the size of a giant popup add in the middle of your screen. :D "Why the heck would Google think this is the right thing to do to the rest of the "normal" people out there?"
    I like how condescending you are to all the poor "normal" people who don't have the superskills of and XDA developer and their tiny brains can't possibly handle an update in the behavior of their favorite launcher. "Is it really that hard to just have an up-to-date changelog in the Play Store?"
    Because all the 50 million poor "normal" people bother with reading the changelog? Their brains get all worked up in confusion over changes in apps (according to you), but one read in the changelog burried deep inside Play Store is going to suddenly help them? Riiight. "Is it tough to do a quick "what's new" pop-up or splash page when you open the updated app?"
    So I unlock my phone, because I need to do something real quick, and instead of my homescreen, I see a fucking popup. Brilliant idea! Sure I'm going to read that when I really need to deal with the issue at hand. Also, personally, I've never ever ever bothered to read those annoying popup windows Google forces on you in Docs, Slides, Sheets and similar. Its annoying and doesn't help at all. How's this popup/overlay/intro screen any better? The problem with your solutions is that you're trying to figure out solutions to a non-problem. The new drawer behavior and visuals are perfectly easy to understand in under 15 seconds to any person familiar with Android and capable of installing a custom launcher or ordering a Nexus device. There are much bigger issues Google and Android has that are worth discussing, this is not one of them.
  • I don't mind the change, and as others have said, it's way faster now!
    Now I hope hangouts can be updated to work smoother too... Posted via the Android Central App
  • You shouldn't be writing for Android Central if you didn't associate a Google search update with an update to the Google launcher. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Google App changed the launcher behavior. But you already knew this, right?
  • That's why I use Nova. I can customize everything, and not have to get stuck using a joke launcher like Google Now.
  • I love Nova Prime, I really do. I love the degree to which you can customize it. But here's the problem I have with it. You install it for the first time. Now you need to create folders/drawers and organize your apps. That's tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap... x1000. Whew, finally done. Backup the settings. Oops, I just installed another app. That needs to go into my communications folder. Okay, tap, tap, tap, tap tap... And that's why, as much as I like Nova Prime, I switched to Smart Launcher.
  • Just noticed it on my Nexus 5. Still prefer the horizontal card like app drawer. Posted via the Android Central App on an LG Nexus 5.
  • Thank god I have a Samsung, google doesn't interfere with touchwiz.
  • Thank God I've got a Samsung and I can load a launcher over Touchwiz. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is exactly why we're on android. While i do realize that some people prefer vertical, but a lot of use still like horizontal more. What Google should do imho is add an option to switch between the two modes. Launchers since Android 2.1 did it i don't se why google can't.
  • Have you noticed we can't choose the GPS we want after a Google search ? G maps open automatically now... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Five paragraphs to whine about your app drawer scrolling a different direction? First work problems. Check out my new YouTube channel for tech reviews!
  • Gotta love those first world problems
  • Stop crying !I like it.Moar updates without annual otas ! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was using my nexus 5 while the G4 was in for repairs and got really used to the vertical scrolling. So much that I kept trying to vertical scroll my Kindle app as I was reading lol. Not cool about the change logs. Google is the worst when it comes to listing the actual changes. I'm an update junkie so iI check each changeling and only Google has most vague description.
  • I like it better! Posted via the Android Central App
  • What a bitchy whiney article.. get over it Posted via the Android Central App
  • The same could be said for your comment. Posted via Android Central App
  • Thank you for your great information... Can any one tell me how to update lollipop os in Lenovo A6000 plus... Posted via the Android Central App
  • The problem is that there was no choice because there was no description of the change in the what's new section. Because of that all we have now is a reaction and the extra task of cleaning up what someone else messed up. If you disagree then I'll be randomly visiting your house at night while you are asleep and rearranging all of your furniture. You can develop new navigation habits while bruising various body parts. But at least I've given you prior notification. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No one warned me when android central switched to it's horrible laggy tile interface. But I guess it's free so I shouldn't complain, Right?
  • Yeah, the webview is awful. Posted via the Android Central App on my Droid Turbo
  • The difference is they told you they were doing it, but I agree that it looks like pure shit. I rarely go to the site at all. It's 97% on the app for me because the site just sucks balls. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Andrew hates Marshmallows... Posted via the Android Central App
  • And the s6 edge + Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was upset for about 2 seconds until I realized that it's much better this way. The phone is faster and without horizontal scrolling, the new search feature, and the recent apps feature, I get to what I need quicker. I understand the annoyance of zero notification but it actually did improve performance. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I thought I was going crazy. Not sure I liked it at first but now seems faster vertically vs horizontally. Weird thing is I bought two Moto pures for wife and I. Mine got this change and wife's did not. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Big deal.
  • I have automatic updates turn off and it changed.... Kind of glad to see this article and know it was just me wondering what I setting I changed.... Especially since the launcher hadn't been updated since early August and I've only been using it since getting my MXPE in last two weeks.... Really had me wondering what did I do and how do I undo it. Good now just didn't like surprise that I couldn't explain. Posted via the Android Central App by XT1575
  • I thought it was garbage before and will stay with Nova launcher especially now.
  • Not a fan of the vertical scrolling. Got a lot of apps and scrolling through is a pain. Especially on my Nexus 6. There should b a vertical or horizontal grid toggle please. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is really a dumb article, and it actually makes me think about reading on android central again....
    You complain about an app changing it's behavior, and let's be honest it's not like it's that huge a deal (if it is then you spend WAY too much time in the app launcher, this is not ios ;) ), yet you admit to either having all apps on auto update or just pushing update all... so you DO NOT read any changelog anyway, so why bother? - you want a popup explaining a change, yeah sure let's use that every single time shall we... I do understand that some changes needs to be in a changelog (for those of us who actually read them before upgrading), but i really don't think this is one of those times. It's not a new feature, it's not removing any feature exchanging a feature, it's only moving the slide from horizontal to vertical. That being said, how can you honestly write this line: "I, as a long-time editor at an Android news site, was genuinely confused by this whole situation" -
    And NOT know that this change was coming? Are you just writing for an android site and have no interest or knowledge about android? Because let me tell you, anyone who follows android as much as a writer for a android news site should, would have known this. And they would have known why the google app update can change the google now launcher (since this is not the first time) and they know why a frequently used apps section and a search is a good idea in the app drawer, and not "weird" as you so elegantly put it :S
  • It's not that it's a change; it's an unnanounced change without any indicator that there is a change. nothing on the app itself says "hey look we blah blah blah and it's awesome!" There's nothing on Play about it, nowhere do you get a hint that it was intentional. I also stopped in my tracks wondering what was going on. 15 seconds later I got acclimated to it. People have opinions and are entitled to them.
  • It was announced though, a long time ago.
  • You, like a lot of people, are missing the point. It's about developers not informing people what all they have changed. Just because someone allows automatic updates does not mean they aren't checking the change logs. I do it all the time, probably every few days, but I absolutely check the changelog when I'm using an app and I can tell that there have been significant changes to it. And in a situation like this it's even more important because it's a little confusing: I would expect those changes to show up in the launcher app, but they were implemented via a change to the search app. I would think that may be confusing to the average person. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly, people bending over backwards to defend Google are forgetting that the vast majority of Android users don't visit sites like this, and if Google don't include the pertinent information in the correct place then it might be confusing for them. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yet this article is by a android editor who not only visits sites like these, he writes for them. Yet he is basically the only one whining and being ever so confused, about basic knowledge by now (certainly from an android editor one would assume), and on top of that claims that there where no knowledge about this change... even though it has been revealed a long time ago AND been in the developer previews. One could again assume, that a android editor would know this. There are things we could discuss about android, google and changelogs... but this just comes of as a piss-poor excuse for click bait.
  • The vast majority of users don't use Google Now Launcher.
  • About the auto-update, it would have been the same issue even if the changelog stated that the scrolling was now vertical, since he admitted to either auto update or just pushing update all. The same "confusion" would have happened. So some people might check the changelogs, but in this case we are dealing with a editor who is updating and NOT reading the changelog, before using the app, so the confusion remains regardless.
    And even the so called normal users, who actively install google now launcher, knows that the google app is where the changes are. This is not the first time it has happened. And i am actually not missing the point. I know chancelogs should be up to date on important changes, i just don't classify this as being one.
  • I don't know why people are making such a big deal about this. We should have all known this was coming because its been previews so much in the past few weeks with Marshmallow. It's quicker and much easier to use. Calm down folks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Indeed. And it should have been common knowledge to a writer for a android news site.
  • Oooooh so that's why Action Launcher changed all of a sudden too! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree, more details should be given with all app updates. However, I love the HTC Sense launcher, so I'm used to and prefer vertical scrolling in the app drawer. I locate apps quicker that way. I don't like the look of the Google Now Launcher, though, but it's nice to have more of the Google experience for a change of pace.
  • I opened the app drawer. Noticed it scrolled vertically instead of horizontally. I was shocked! The Evil Empire once again plotting to disturb my Force. Now I'll have to rethink my life goals. No, actually I thought, isn't that interesting, found the app I was looking for and moved on.
  • Can you make the wallpaper not scroll? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I hate it too
  • Icons are so frigging big. On my lg g3.. Great for the grand parents or children.. They need to be resizable Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google plese check with people before disabling your secure voice to unlock and search feature that you recently did as well! It was a very nice feature and I accept any risks that go along with it.
  • I was wondering how it happened! I was swiping to the side like a maniac, i thought the phone was frozen, then it just moved up. It got me by surprise!
  • I'm glad it's not just me. Seeing my launcher change so drastically had me thinking "Oh crap - did I install something that took over my Nexus 6? Is it time for a complete wipe and rebuild? This is not good." What I have on my tablet (2013 Nexus 7) is pretty spartan compared to my Nexus 6, and when that too showed up with the new launcher style I started thinking that maybe it was legit. Google definitely screwed up on this one and advanced warning to ward off panic would've been nice.
  • Google's been a little distracted lately. Like working with BlackBerry on the new slider Priv 'n all. Oh, wait. Maybe BlackBerry's part of the exchange of technology deal with Google is that they show Google how not to communicate to their customer base. Seems to be working. :-)
  • I think this author needs their pacifier.
  • Classic Google... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh boo hoo. So the app drawer scrolls vertically. Not a big deal. People are overreacting.
  • Nice, Might actually start using this now. As a long time Windows Phone guy I can stand horizontal app lists... like at all
  • I'm thinking the app drawer is the product of some sort of talks with Apple. So it doesn't perform the same way. Maybe it's Google's way of playing nice with them to ease tensions. Notifications of performance or UI changes would be appreciated though. But by Wednesday these changes won't even be a discussion. Posted via the Android Central App
  • #1stworldproblems Posted via the Android Central App
  • I guess I'd consider myself one of those poor woeful "normal" people, and I just noticed the changes last night out of the blue. And....it didn't bother me in the slightest, and in fact I love the new speed, smoothness, and better scrolling ability. I was used to it in about 10 seconds. So what's the freaking big deal here? Yes Google is comically bad at communicating updates and changes to end users, that's nothing new and has been a major gripe of mine in the past too for more complex issues. But geez...if normal people can adjust in 10 seconds without writing a lengthy gripe/whine article, where does that place you? Below normal? Come on, all that was needed here was a simple "here's what changed" informative and be done with it. Not a toddler rant essay, that sounds as if someone just stole your sucker while in the stroller!
  • Since when is Google user-friendly when changing things? They took away the Gallery app and shoved Google+ with the Photos app.
    They did the same with YouTube accounts.
    They forced their stupid "recent places" (or whatever it's called) new tab page in Chrome.
    The list goes on...
    It doesn't surprise me they changed that too without warning, and it shouldn't surprise you either. Frankly, the only services I still use are GMail and Android OS, because the alternatives suck, but to me it's clear Google doesn't have their user's satisfaction in mind when designing their products, but rather their ad revenue.
  • I totally agree with you, Andrew. I've been using the Google Now Launcher for a long, enjoyable while. This change, and more importantly, the sneaky way it was made, was really sour. I'm on Cyanogen OS using a dark theme, which looked great before this update. The blast of white in the new app drawer and the giant white folder icons in this update actually pushed me to Cyanogen's Trebuchet launcher. The funny thing is that only a week ago or so I tried Trebuchet after it's big update but just couldn't give up the Google Now Launcher. Until this.
  • www.goodsamaratins.com Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good grief, calm down. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google, at least give us the option to choose from vertical and horizontal... This feels so forced, and honestly i don't like the vertical scrolling, prefer horizontal on my Nexus 5. We must rebel about this, or Google won't do anything to remedy it.
  • Never. Auto. Update.
    Never. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wimps! If it took you any longer than 5 seconds to figure it out then 'full retard'?
  • Anyone whose ever used the developer preview for 6.0 Marshmallow is already familiar with the vertical app drawer. I like the change, but it would've been nice to have a choice in the matter. It's not for everyone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wow! Really?
  • The river of tears over this is unbelievable. I can't even imagine how some of you must react to a real life changes like a job loss, death in the family or natural disaster. Some of you people really need to get a grip. Maybe volunteer at a cancer hospital so you can get some perspective. Unbelievable Posted via the Android Central App
  • They are just trying to get ready for Android M, which will have vertical scrolling with search and alphabetical scrolling Posted via the Android Central App
  • It looks very nice on my tab s running slimLP. Transparent background. Fast as well.
  • I have auto update turned off because I want to know what has changed before I install. Many apps tell you. Andrew is correct in wanting Google to do the same. For most Google apps all they say is bug fixes and enhancements enhancements? What are they? You don't know until you start the app and even then you do know how to do the things you used to do. There is no excuse for this laziness coming from the company that develops the operating system.
  • Simple: its been part of the Android M launcher, so they're bringing it early Posted via the Android Central App
  • What true android nerd has auto update on? . Also are you new here? this is how google operates.
  • If they're gonna change it, they're going to change it. the dont need to consult an individual user, no matter how much you feel they owe it to you. #bigboypants
  • Nobody noticed that Google was able to make major changes to your phone without permission. The fact that they can basically brick your phone or access anything they want without getting permission is very concerning.
  • I Don't have auto update turned on for precisely this reason. I wanna control what gets updated and what doesn't. Turn it off folks!
  • This change made me switch back to Nova Prime! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use Nova anyway so no difference here. The one thing I do hate tho is how they keep changing image search and took away the long-press to save option! It's always one step forward & 2 steps back with Google.. Smh. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hey Guys, Widget selected changed too !
  • I like this new app drawer :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't use this launcher any more. I like all my apps organized in folders. There a lot easier to find. Unless Google has changed that it's not worth having. Posted via the Android Central App
  • People need to stop crying about this Google Now Launcher change. Everyone knew it was coming from the previews of Android Marshmallow. Yes, muscle memory has most of us swiping horizontally, but it took me a day or two to get used to the new vertical scrolling. I love that I can jump to the letter I need, and the recent apps is pretty cool too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's why I turned auto update off. If an app functions well and I'm happy with the design, then there is no reason for me to update. . I'm so tired of updates either crashing, not working right, or have have features I like being taken away. Worst, when they get invasive with the permissions they want. Slacker, Spotify- sorry I won't update cause there is no reason to access my contacts. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I figured out that Google app update effect the Google Now Launcher pretty much immediately after the first Google update. It takes a few seconds to redraw everything on the homescreen when you update, so it seemed pretty obvious that the two were closely linked. Totally agree on Google's awful use of changelogs. They should really put more than a sentence that explains next to nothing. That said, I feel like every change they made to the launcher was for the best. They added a lot of new functions that make everything much faster to find (which would be nice if they told you about in the changelogs) like dragging your finger across the right edge to scroll through apps by initial. A long press on the app drawer button sends you directly to the search, which is much easier to use than reaching all the way to the top for the Google bar, especially on larger devices. Fans of widgets are now able to reach the end of their widget list without doing a hundred swipe gestures. It was a surprise, but a pleasant one. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I completely agree.
  • I'm really glad you guys made this blog post. This really needs to be heard by Google. It happened to me a couple of days ago, and even though I'm more of a power-user like most people here I still got confused until I realised what had happened (Google Searcg update). And this is just the confusion part, not liking the change is another thing entirely - which I'm sure many people won't. Its been two days since the changes and I still end up swiping right every time I open the app drawer. After the update, most of us here would've eventually realised what the change is, but - and here is what Google should really consider given the fact that they take pride on Android being used by people of all demographics - I talked to my mom (58yrs old) and she said that most of her apps had disappeared. Granted that there is an ever so slightly visible scroll bar there, but If that is the sort of confusion being caused by a change, that's just bad UX in my book. Here's the thing - I love that Google wants to be innovative and bring flair & consistency to the material design that is their baby. And they have every right to change the design when they want. But as a Software Dev myself, I know that this is not the way a UX change should be rolled out to general consumers and just expect them to understand - their should atleast be an on-screen tutorial to update the user with the change. Or even better - a change like this should be first delivered as an optional uptake and then given some time be made final.
  • Yeah, this got me too - I wondered if I has somehow gotten an update to Android without noticing. For the record, I don't like it - it's far easier to find the app you're looking for flicking right-left between pages than one huge scrolling list..
  • Well I think you're wrong. Google now launcher has only been a Google app shellcase for more than a year now, and Google has updated it, along with Google play services, over 50 times. As a blogger and an android enthusiast, you sould know about this, including how a staged rollout works. One thing is not liking the new launcher (you can always switch to iOS and have the same one for a decade) and another thing is hating the dynamic lifestyle of application updates. Other launchers work well too..
  • Thank you for this article. I thought I had lost my mind. How dare they? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I find it ironic that Google's own apps don't even use the features they want developers to use to keep their users up to date on what's new in their apps. Google will push out update after update without changing the Play Store description at all to let people know what the update is for. It drives me nuts.
  • I don't understand the decision but I do actually enjoy parts of the update. Although the Google now screen is much more bland than before. I'll admit I find the new app drawer to be sort've oldschool,and not so much in a good way but its alright. Posted via the Android Central App
  • On minor, but extremely useful change I've noticed on my Z1 Compact as a result of this - when you're phone is locked pressing and holding the call button on a wired headset now launched Google Now rather than the Google Voice Dialler! You can now say "Play Thumbs Up Playlist" without taking your phone out the pocket. Even with the relevant options on inside Google Now this never worked previously, unless the phone was unlocked.
  • Can we make the icons ANY bigger Google? Seriously, the bloodmoon people want to read the icons on my phone.
  • Did they do anything about the app icons in the tray being HUGE? I literally can fit 30% more app icons on the screen using Nova Launcher on my S6...
  • I like the new launcher but the vertical app drawer it's OK. but the google now cards set up is confusing and they got rid of the main weather card at the top of the screen. Which I have no idea why they did that. Not feeling the new cards set up.
  • Old school nexus baby. Posted via the Android Central App
  • As most people pointed out its even faster than the old version. It's not a huge change for it to be made Into a big deal. It's better than the way it used to be. The folders are alot better with being able to have pages instead of being limited. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I also don't like that there was no notification, but after a day I was fine with it. It lets you get to apps at the end of your list faster, and since I have 150+ apps I appreciate that. The whole point about android is that if you don't like it you can change it, and the majority of regular android users buy phones with other launchers stock. Posted via Android Central App
  • Thanks for your post man! Believe me, I was confused too! (As many users...)
  • This seems like a lot of whining about nothing really. If you follow the tech blogs, these changes have been leaking for months. It's about time they became official. Whether Google makes a statement about it or not, it's great when they make things better, and I feel they did. I personally like the vertical scrolling of the app drawer better. Also, if you hold the app drawer button down, you automatically start on the search bar and the keyboard pops up. This lets you quickly find an app just by typing the first letter or two. I'm grateful for these improvements even though they did change the way parts of the OS works "without warning".
  • I just tried this launcher for the 1st time ever. The update already dropped. I was gonna stick with it but the calendar widget isn't full page like Samsung. I use TouchWiz on a note 4 and I'm used to their calendar. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The point of Android is choice and customization. I prefer the horizontal swipe. I love the Google Launcher but I may have to find a new one. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You might all think these changes are good but with notifications not being sent, you are letting yourself be set up! Google does what they want when they want to do it and so that we get what we think are secure phones that are not, we allow it! Please the smallest thing that seems off for your sake don't overlook! I was 12 dollars over an thought I made a mistake my only mistake was thinking I had made a mistake an that Google would protect my information! CHECK YOUR WALLET ACCOUNTS DAILY!
  • lol, well now I know why NO APP EVER updates their changelogs....."Hell, if Google doesn't why should we?"
  • I agree with the author. I was tipsy when I first noticed, and it took me a while to realize what was going on. I finally figured it out, but I wwas pissed by the time I did.
  • Just noticed this the other day on my Moto X (2). Went to app drawer, tried swiping right. Um. ... Thanks, Google? That said, doesn't bother me much.
  • Simple solution to ALL App update changes/problems: Turn off Playstore's default Auto Update setting (uncheck upper right box of each app you use in Playstore). This allows you to read user comments (the good, the bad, and the ugly) about and update BEFORE allowing an update. Be sure to always set Playstore's default setting of Most Helpful comments first to Newest First comments so you are reading comments from latest updated version. My experience regarding updates is the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". In other words, if you are familiar and comfortable with your existing version of and App, why update to an unknown. We also know App developers will often throw in other irritating market/income driven changes not listed in their description of an update, especially adding new unnecessary Special Permissions access to your devices personal information.
  • This is an overreaction to what amounts to a minor but wildly useful change. Not getting advance notice of impending changes to an app on your phone is the norm.
  • I actually like the change. A vertically scrolling app drawer seems more intuitive to me. Between this, and Desktop Visualizer and GNL...it brings my unrootable, Lollipoped, ATT Galaxy S5 closer to a stock feel than anything else. At some point (I don't know when and I know you couldn't do this before) they made the default Samsung flashlight widget possible for use in GNL as well.
  • If you're not a fan of the vertical scroll, you're wrong. Google had it right in Android 1.0
  • yet another of my Android annoyances. my first two Android 2.x devices had a vertically scrolling list. and i think my first 4.x device did as well. i go to install Google Now Launcher, and, while finally RAM-hogging apps close other ones less often, i have to put up with horizontally pages. and IIRC, after some random update, the apps list decided to change from a nice black background, to a blinding-at-night white background. flash forward to today, and now we're back to vertically scrolling. and after i'd gotten used to apps being in certain positions on the pages. and no, i'm not going to install another launcher "just because." probably.
  • I wasted two days looking for the cause of the display change and for a way to revert back to the old display. It would be nice of Google to notify us of this change.
  • I thought it was just me to notice the app drawer reverted to the Froyo days. At least I was able to turn off the frequently-used app feature.
  • i was surfing google in the morning and i opened google and searched something up, i opened another tab and i was soo confused, did this happen to anyone else
  • I am so glad it scrolls now. The old one was horrible.
  • I can no longer get from here to there simply by asking Google to navigate. Furthermore, I DO NOT WANT THIS DUMBED-DOWN phone talking to me like a friend. I want it the way it used to be. I tell google where I want to go, it gives me choices available through my local bus route to get there. What ever gave Google the idea that changing things like this WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA??! ANd HOW CAN I GET IT BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS LAST WEEK?? If they do NOT STOP THIS, my next phone is GOING TO BE AN APPLE, and my next PC will be powered by LINUX or UBUNTU.
  • I just told Google Now to navigate and it worked fine. "Navigate to (place) by bus." I didn't notice any significant changes to the way it's always been done.