We're playing around with the new Android M preview today, and it looks like there are several notable changes to the launcher (i.e. the Google app). The new app drawer is no longer broken up by letter and the widget picker has a fast scroll bar. If that's not good enough, you can view the whole launcher in landscape mode after toggling a setting. Cool, no?
Over the past few weeks and months, it seems Google has been testing out a minor tweak to the search bar that appears on the home screen above your apps. Instead of simply showing Say "OK Google," some of our readers are seeing search recommendations such as "OK Google 15% of 80" and "OK Google...
The folders in Google's stock Google Now Launcher are currently restricted to just 16 entries (four rows of four). That's going to change very soon. The version of GNL that ships with the Android M preview has folders that automatically paginate when you add more than 16 apps. How many pages can you have?
One aspect of Google Now Launcher that never felt quite right was the way you removed apps. If you happened to be on a home screen, saw an app icon, and decided to uninstall that app, you had to go to the app drawer to do that.
To the excitement of many, Google has finally made the Google Now Launcher available for all Android devices running Android 4.1 or later.
The GNL is what Google thinks your Android device should look like, in a basic sense. A dedicated Google Now homescreen pane, a permanent Google Search shortcut at the top of every screen, and a very bare-bones app drawer.
It's been a number of months since the Google Now Launcher debuted in the Play Store as an exclusive for Nexus and Google Play Experience devices, but today that changes. The newest update has opened up official access to all devices running Android 4.1 or higher.
It seems like it's hard to find a non-Nexus device that uses anything close to stock Android. Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Asus, Acer - everywhere you look there are customizations to a greater or lesser extent. Even Motorola, formerly Google's own subsidiary, uses a custom launcher. Chinese manufacturer ZTE is looking to break that trend, however.
The Nexus 5 introduced us to the Google Now Launcher, which is now available on a number of other devices. One of the headlining features of Google's launcher is the always-on home screen hotword detection. You can say "Okay Google" at any time to bring up voice search, but OmniROM is about to take it one step further with custom hotwords.
A Google Search update is usually an occasion to celebrate – not only do we get new Google Now cards, but the Google Now Launcher can also be augmented with new features and tweaks. But all was not well when Google Search 3.4 rolled out. Users of the popular Xposed GEL Settings Module (XGELS) found that it no longer worked.
It's finally happening. After months of leaks and speculation, the Google Now Launcher (previously known informally at the Google Experience Launcher) has been dropped into the Play Store. This is essentially just an updated stub app that will enable the home screen functionality in the Google search app on most Android devices.