Google has pushed out an update to the Google Search app, which now means there's also an update to the Google Experience Launcher. We've got the APK for you to install below, and this is looking like a substantial update – it looks like the new (and probably official) name for the Google Experience Launcher is Google Now Launcher.

2014-02-05 19.23.27 BfvN1y6IQAEIDxj

What's New

Google says:

  • Bug fixes and performance improvements

We say:

  • New Google Now Launcher name with splash screen on start up
  • 6 columns on tablet home screens (up from 5)
  • AirBNB reservations in Google Now
  • Fixes disappearing icon in the hotseat bug
  • Hotword detection now works in British and Canadian English
  • Icon imports from old home screen
  • App drawer no longer resets to first page when you close it (unclear if this is intended behavior)
  • New animations for expandable card bundles (seen here)
  • Voice volume is now dependent on media volume (instead of system volume)
  • Customize TV provider and on-demand options
  • When setting alarms, Google Now says "setting alarm for [time]" aloud, with a new blue box appearing along with the regular card, though this part seems to be a server-side change that also affected the previous versions of Search when it was flipped on. If you hit Accept, the alarm card will stick around briefly, allowing you to view other alarms - this part is new to Search 3.2 (via Luigi Aversano)
  • UI enhancements for getting to appointments early or on time (via Rob Aymett - 1, 2)
  • Or if you're late (via Midas Gordon-Farleigh)
  • Action overflow button has moved from left side of cards to right
  • Fixes icon alignment in app drawer on some devices
  • A Winter Olympics 2014 Google Now card with medals and the upcoming events (via Adam Stephenson)

(we're still checking it out, might be more to come)

Screenshot_2014-02-05-20-57-42 Screenshot_2014-02-05-20-59-02 Screenshot_2014-02-05-21-00-51

wm_Screenshot_2014-02-06-00-43-23 wm_Screenshot_2014-02-06-00-43-14 2014 - 1

Be aware, you need to have the Google Home stub app installed to see the Google Now Launcher. This branding also doesn't show up on the Nexus 5, which already has the new launcher installed by default. Removing the Google Home stub and clearing search app data might fix it.

Note: Some people are reporting a black bar on the right of the N7 screen when in landscape after the update. I don't see it on mine, but many do. This can be reportedly fixed by clearing data for Google Search.

APK Download

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:

Version: (Android 4.1+)

MD5: dd4c680845bd632bb7beb9ed53ce4241.

Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

[Thanks, Jesus Baez, @pgr3master, +Nazim Amin, Joe Girardot, and +Keneth Sim]