A huge Google Search update started rolling out earlier today. It is absolutely massive on many levels:

  • It officially brings Search version 3 (3.1.8 to be exact) that shipped in KitKat to all devices running 4.1+. This includes an updated UI, new refresh animation, among other things.
  • Because Search houses the Google Experience Launcher (GEL) inside, this update also brings GEL to all devices running Android 4.1+. All you need to do after installing Search 3.1.8 is install the launcher app from here, and voila - GEL for all, not just KitKat devices. I have it running on 4.1, 4.3, and 4.4 on both phones and tablets, and it finally looks perfect.
  • As I mentioned above, 3.1.8 completely fixes the wonky GEL layout on tablets. As you may have seen yesterday, several things on the Nexus 7, for example, were out of whack - the keyboard was popping when you tapped Home, the icons were old, and the Search box was off-center. All fixed.
  • Remember: GEL does support transparency in the navigation and status bars, but you need KitKat for that to work. And Google disabled it system-wide on the Nexus 10.
  • New cards:
  • Traffic incidents using Waze on maps.
  • Recurring reminders.
  • Real-time scores for rugby teams
  • See when your packages are ready for in-store pickup.
  • You can now bring back dismissed cards by pressing Undo.
  • Update: Full-on conversation mode!

But seriously, did you see that? GEL for all, with the help of one additional APK, now optimized for devices other than just the Nexus 5. This is what we've been waiting for. Of course, Google should also upload the launcher stub that we need to install manually to the Play Store and make it really painless for everyone. I don't see any reason why this won't happen once they verify GEL works fine on as many hardware variations as possible.

On that note, where did the individual card settings and toggles go? I can't find them anymore. Update: All card settings and toggles have been reworked into a series of menus and yes/no questions - just tap the wand at the bottom of Search to access them.

Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-40-46 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-41-07 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-41-33

GEL on the Note II running Android 4.1.2

Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-01-10 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-02-47 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-02-35

GEL on the 2013 Nexus 7 running Android 4.4

Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-01-27 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-07-53 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-08-04

Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-06-11 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-05-26 Screenshot_2013-11-13-17-21-21

New cards and the new recurring reminder UI

1 2 3

More new cards

Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-55-57 Screenshot_2013-11-13-16-55-20

Left: the new funky fresh Refresh animation; Right: Undo button for swiped away cards (both taken on a Note 3)


The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File name: com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox-

Version: 3.1.8 (Android 4.1+).

MD5: dea923f514f59ac6d040401bd00d1209.

Once again, if you want GEL to work, install the launcher helper APK from here.

Thanks, Peter Kiddier!

More info: +Android

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Adrian

    I'm missing "personal results" under Settings/Accounts & privacy.... Anyone can help me?

    • Adrian

      and "Apps search stats"

  • Fatboy

    Google now works fine.. But the Laucnher does not work on my Razr HD....

  • Fatboy

    Anyone knows how to make the Google Launcher work on Razr HD????????

  • Mohit

    'Unfortunately, Google Search has stopped' - every time I go to the home screen with GEL

    -Xperia SP

    • Justin B

      Ditto. Search is installed though and working on mine. Going to re-download the APK for the launcher.

  • sQueezedhe

    Really happy to see package delivery finally come from my email in my Now this morning, and the improvements are always welcomed.
    I'll pass on GEL though, action launcher just suits me more.

  • Kyle Sutter

    Just installed this on my 4.3 Note 3. However, the "Ok Google" option isn't showing up. Is there another apk I need for this to work?

  • Zyre

    Mind someone explain to my why it only updated Google Now with a new look? I thought from the pictures above that my Nexus 4 would get the new launcher with it. But... it doesn't? or does that come with 4.4? I'm asking this because 2 pictures are from a Samsung phone.

    • LaDeX

      The launcher is downloaded separately. There's a link in the news.

  • Fatboy

    Anyone Knows how to make it to work on Razr HD????

  • Fatboy

    Anyone Knows how to make it to work on Razr HD????
    coz it says to ALL DEVICES... My device doesnot work!!!!!

    • krsnprvn

      Not many devices are supporting the GEL even after the search got updated. They are getting "Google Search Error". Looks like it's working only on tablets for now and some devices with 4.3 & higher

    • krsnprvn

      Mine is age old "HTC One X" and its not working..

  • Shai Pal

    Icons are way too big in the new GEL. going back to Nova.

  • gordonChumway

    Awesome....works like a charm.

  • fatboy

    Google search works great!..... But the Launcher doesnot work!!!!
    Anyone Knows how to make it to work on Razr HD????

  • Probain

    GEL is clean so on. But it pales in comparison to other alternatives e.g. Nova Launcher. In fact, GEL is so far behind in features and settings. That it can't be compared.

    But, I will keep an eye on it. Hopefully it evolves beyond the initial google-hype, and actually delivers something worth while.

  • Harry


  • SkullOne

    For those with Google Search force close issues: Some devices need a file from the N5. This link is from a droid-life Disqus thread. This is how I fixed the FC issue on my CM10.2 Verizon SGS3.

    This file needs to go in /system/lib


    Here is the droid-life article: http://www.droid-life.com/2013/10/31/download-new-google-apps-from-the-nexus-5-dump-search-launcher-and-more/

    • Steve

      I used ROM Toolbox to copy this. There is already a file with the same name, so it copied it and appended "_1" at the end. So I renamed the original file and then removed the "_1" at the end of the copied file. I still get the error.

      I've tried to do the voice search switch thing as well... still no luck. My phone is an HTC Droid DNA, and while rooted is not running a custom ROM.

      Any ideas as to why it still won't work?

      • SkullOne

        Sorry no idea. Only guess is something to do with the DNA itself. Most likely something from Sense causing grief but that's just pure speculation.

  • bob

    Does not work. Crashes when attempting to use GEL.

    • bob

      GEL for all is bullcrap.

  • Shadowstare

    Tried on my stock Droid DNA, and does not work. I installed both, bot a force close when I tried to use the launcher. I restarted and now I'm in a 'google search has stopped" loop.

    • Shadowstare

      Problem solved. I used the lock menu to get into my settings and uninstalled the Launcher & the updates to Search. Still no GEL, but at least I have Nova back as my launcher.

  • Adam

    I installed the launcher from the second bullet point but after doing that and even clearing defaults from my current launcher, the new GEL launcher is not an option to select...

  • fatboy

    Where in the phone is the " /system/lib/ " ???
    My phone has to be rooted to do it????

    • SkullOne

      Yes you need to be rooted to place that file in /system/lib

  • Stephen Smithett

    No new cards or personal search results option in the UK (Nexus 5 configured for US English)

  • http://lalitindoria.com/ Lalit Indoria

    I don't know why this does not bring GEL to my Sony Xperia U running AOSP Android 4.1.2 The Google search version is 3.1.8 and the launcher is 0.9.6 that I downloaded from Android Police. It makes Google Search force close. Any one knows what the issue might be?

  • jimmyamazingz

    Has anyone else tried this on a DNA? Mine crashes search as soon as I pick the launcher.

  • Andrew Kachaniwsky

    Music options still not back in there for Canada users... shame.

  • fonix232

    This update fucked up Google Home for me. Before it was working fine, now the icons are badly shaded. Possibly an animation framework bug? (Using 4.3 OmniRom)

    • fonix232

      Seemingly just some remnants from the old GoogleHome/Search install, it was fixed by a reboot. False alarm, sorry!

    • fonix232

      Oh by the way, anyone can write a GoogleHome launcher wrapper, it is basically less than ten lines of code. Including exception handling.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS


  • gierso

    im guessing the apk wont work for intel devices like the razr I

  • CrookedKnight

    Is there any way to make Google Now not show a Toast popup every time you swipe something away? God, that's annoying.

  • Fifth313ment

    Does anyone have a Note 3? I put the new Google Search v3.1.8 update on my Note 3 and my EVO LTE and it works far better on the EVO LTE (although GEL won't work on that as it keeps forcing the search app closed). On the EVO LTE it can search my calendar, call history and voicemail. On the Note 3 it can't search any of those! The Note 3 is missing some of the biggest phone options to search! That sucks! If anyone find a workaround or anything let me know, thanks.


  • TheGCU

    Where can I find launcher settings for GEL? Running CM10.2. GEL runs fine, I just can't find launcher settings.

    • CoreRooted

      There aren't any in this version. On 4.4, there is a new Home menu item in settings, but that doesn't apply here.

      • TheGCU

        Thanks. It looks nice, but until I can play around with the options, I'm sticking with Apex. My only problem with Apex is the stupid tabs in the app drawers. I never use them, but can't turn them off, so they're always there useless at the top of my drawer. I think Novas let me turn them off, but I get functionality in Apex for free that I'd have to buy Nova Prime to use.

        • Arthur Dent

          Support the good devs ...

          • TheGCU

            I know what you're saying, but I can't bring myself to pay for functionality I can get for free in another app that I like a bit better. There are other small things I don't like about Nova as well, but it is very similar to Apex.

  • Abhishek

    would installing this Google search apk break any automatic future playstore updates

    • Abhishek

      i cant wait for the update to roll, i would rather install this apk but at the same time i donot want the automatic updates broken

  • Marco

    Noob question: if I update Google Search via APK, can I still get updates from Google Play? Thank you.

    • psychoace


  • blj

    Hmm, doesn't work for me, maybe because im in denmark or something, it just shows: placeholder Text google search not found, when i try to open the launcher..

  • Ali

    It will be great if we can set reminders for (watch later) videos from youtube in google now, what do you think guys ?

  • Robert Barrett

    I'm still getting Google Search has stopped message on HTC One X.

    • blj

      Me too, what is wrong...?

  • willharris24

    installed on nexus 7 in UK with instant improvements to Google now which started telling me about recent shipments/deliveries...
    I don't understand why my nexus 5 doesn't have this already as it says above that this is the version that shipped with KitKat?

  • Paul Leatherbee

    Sprint HTC One + GEL = exactly what I've been waiting for!

  • Cesar

    I'm giving it a shot, as I was very excited about this when the idea of the launcher being available to other devices was first postulated. I'll give it a few days to see if it grows on me, but if it doesn't, I'm definitely going to go back to Nova launcher.

    • Cesar

      Well, that didn't last long. I missed Nova's extensive feature set almost immediately. Hell, I couldn't even hide unwanted icons in my app drawer in the Google launcher. I will miss the Google Now integration, but it's a small price to pay for so much more control over my launcher.

  • Rob Johnson

    Still can't get it to work, still getting the same error that I got from the leaked version of the files.

  • Stephen Blake

    Seems to be broken on the Note 10.1. Can't open on mine.

  • Markoff

    How is this better compared to Apex or Nova launcher? Last time I saw google launcher was on 4.2.2 and I could not change single thing, could not customize number of home screens, could not customize number of icons in grid and some other basic things which make Launcher pretty useless or am I so dumb and there are somewhere hidden all these Settings for Google default launcher? Thanks for heads up.

  • DarkRain

    Thank you Android Police! Thank you for sharing this and the GEL (Google Experience Launcher)! Together, they made my Nexus 7 2012 new again! It's working great, looks great with the transparent home screen (menu bar is so out dated) and unlimited home screens. Now I get to load all the widgets available and with plenty of space to spare!

  • panagiώtis

    Not working in my xperia s 4.1

  • http://www.friv2friv3friv4.com/ friv 2 friv 3 friv 4

    And you somehow think your reply was more intelligent? Even your
    original post was just a post to complain. Not even anything really
    intelligent there.

  • Ibrahim Younes

    still no "OK GOOGLE" outside US ?

    • jlav

      Change your language to English (US) and also download the language pack. This mostly works for me very well, even better with GEL



  • Кристиян Атанасов

    Can someone help - I updated Search, installed the GEL apk. but the new launcher crashes everytime... I'm with Nexus S 4.1

  • Angelo Zappalà

    Some strange things...

    I've installed the 3.1.8.etc version manually on my Note II and i got the latest feature including the new "news tabs", the "send message" feature, the "add remind" etc.

    Today I received my Nexus 5 with the same versione of the Google Search app 3.1.8.etc and all the feature above are missing! Why? It's the same version!

  • abhilashpro

    I love GEL but have a problem. When I open the app drawer, swipe to the second or third page, go back to my home screen, and then open the app drawer again - the drawer opens on the first page. This means that if I have to open an app that starts with S, I will have to swipe several pages in the app drawer each time before I reach S. Any help here?

  • Humberto Adan

    I installed the latest Google Search update and laucher. Everything works perfect on my Nexus 7(2012) except when I put the tablet on landscape mode, the search bar overlaps my first row of app icons. Is anybody else having this problem?

    • 成败北

      Same problem on my 2012 nexus 7, I'm thinking it's a problem revolving the launcher not designed for landscape yet

  • Saptak Mohanta

    Using GEL, my navigation bar in Nexus 4 won't get transparent in home screens, although the notification bar is! Weird! But again, it gets transparent in Google Now. Any clue what's going on here?

  • WestSiide

    Discovered a bug using the new launcher on nexus 4 while running 4.3

    Using the multi task key, enter any app. Now hit the back key until the app is closed. Doing that will revert you back into the default launcher until you hit the home key.

  • Chris palfi

    Help! I installed the apk's and i tried to use the new launcher it keeps saying: "Unfortunately Google Search has stopped" what do i do? My phone is the T-mobile Prism 2 and it is running android 4.1 jelly bean.

  • Sassi666

    So I installed this on my galaxy note 2 and then downloaded the GEL apk and installed that. It's all working except for the OK google to launch the google search. On the images above the Galaxy note 2 shows 'say OK google' in the search bar so it looks like it should do it, I've checked all the settings I can find to no avail. Anyone got any ideas?

  • Victor QuyUy

    Any link for the older version? :( 3.1.8 crashes on my N7 and N4 (custom rom 4.3)

  • kschang

    One more tip: do NOT "merge to ROM" (a feature available with Titanium Backup).

    It will SCREW UP your app (crash right after you do a search). The ONLY way to fix it is to uninstall with Titanium, then download a regular copy from Google Play store.

    • Victor QuyUy

      Thanks, but I uninstall it by Titanium, download fresh one from Play but the crashing issue is still there >.<

      • kschang

        You'll also need to reupdate the Gapps, the play store, and reboot once or twice.

        • Victor QuyUy

          I've found the causes :D, it's my CM theme, since the theme also changes the background of google search
          So just change to another theme in setting and everything is fine

  • Jason c

    Unfortunately this update crashes on Samsung galaxy tabs. No word nor fix in sight from google

  • artur cz

    If I install this along with other one that enable gel - will those two app autoupdate in future (gel and search) ?

  • Rob Tennent

    Except that the update has made it unusable on galaxy note tab and I believe also galaxy tab. Sony force closes EVERY time. I've uninstalled update and running old version, which sucks because on my galaxy note phone it works flawlessly and ids great.
    Anyone know when this will be fixed?

  • Lyder Byron L. Protacio

    I found a glitch on the GoogleHome.apk...
    Installed it to my N4 running stock android...
    When I go to the app drawer and attempt to launch Google Now by holding down the home button and not push through with it...
    It flashes for a quick ms and sends me back to the Home screen without the zoom out animation...

    Is there any chance that this launcher be updated?
    Hope it does cause I really love it... ^_^

  • sean

    I have installed this on the htc one and haven't been given the option to make the new launcher my default. Is there an option for this somewhere?

  • france42

    can't update to default install location? only happens with this and hangouts :(

  • http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/4851011/ bodotdot

    I've downloaded and installed this App... I've opened the file, which opened up Google Now, but no additional launchers were added to my "Home* menu in Settings. How do I get the installed GEL up and running on my N7 2012?

  • parempre10

    Can someone help me?? I have been trying to install this for weeks. I have a Sony Xperia P Official 4.1 Jellybean and the last google search version but everytime I try to open it goes to "Unfortunately, Google Search has stopped" urgent help please

  • masda

    Open Google search always mute my speaker than it must to reboot to actived speaker again

  • Hunter Poelsma

    Is this still working for everyone? Some update seems to have broken it. Reduced the grid size for icons and widgets on my Nexus 7.

  • Matthew Fults

    Google search v 3.1.8 will not install on my device


    Good now its working there's Google search


    And one more thing Google is being a shit nexus users gets 4.4

  • Victor

    Anyone one tried with ART enabled??