6th Feb. 2014: An update is available for the launcher, and it’s called as the ‘Google Now Launcher’. Follow the link below to know how you can get the latest update:
Want the all new Google Home (Android 4.4 launcher), and the new Google Now with “Ok Google”, right on your home screen? Well, you can now get both the new Android 4.4 Launcher, and the new Google Search that’s coming along with it, right away, without waiting for Android 4.4 KitKat to be released for your device.
Sure Google Search’s ‘Ok Google’ command must be what you’re looking to try right now, but it’s the new Google Home Android 4.4 launcher that you’ll find far more exciting, or at least we believe so.
In the new Android 4.4 Launcher, your app drawer now has Apps only, as widgets tab has been removed there — the Android launcher before features apps and widgets together ever since Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich as it was retained through all the versions Jelly Bean (Android 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3).
You get 3 home screens on new Google Home Android 4.4 launcher, the left most of which is your Google Search app itself. So, just swipe to left and your Google Search is already opened, mostly successfully telling you what you might be looking for, already.
Like pre-Android 4.0, touch and hold on the homescreen’s empty space and you.. will not get a pop-up of options like before, instead, you’ll get something much cooler. Your homescreen will narrow down slightly upwards to get you view of its contents and you will get 3 options with their icons: WALLPAPERS, WIDGETS and SETTINGS.
BTW, on the devices which have a dedicated Menu key, like in all Samsung Galaxy devices, if you press the option button while on homescreen, it will simply do what touch and hold on homescreen does.
Click on the Wallpapers icon and you will get to screen where you could select a wallpaper, with both static and live wallpapers mixed up together here — cool!
Long tap again on Homescreen and select the Widgets to welcome yourself to yet another cool UI, for widgets, as all the available widgets appear in 2 x 3 tiles form on the homescreen. Swipe right and left to check out all of them (like you did in ICS and JB launchers) and touch and hold to select and put up on homescreen.
Now, Settings icon is for Google Now, not for your device’s settings, which is still accessed through its tile in notification bar.
Download and Install New Google Home Android 4.4 Launcher
- PreBuiltGmsCore (updated Google Play Services 4.0)
- Velvet (new Google Search)
- GoogleHome (the Google Home, Android 4.4 Launcher)
You would need to download the 3 .APK files and install them over to get the Google Home and Google Search working on your Android device.
Here’s how to install a .APK file.
You can install the hangouts apk file just like you’d install any other apk file on your Android device, however, if you’re new to this and have never done it before, below is a helpful guide to help you install the hangouts apk file.
- Transfer the APK you downloaded to your phone. Both internal and external memory would work.
- To be able install an app from .APK file stored on your phone’s sdcard or internal memory, you first need to enable installation of apps from unknown sources in your device’ settings. Go to Settings » Security and check ‘Unknown Sources’ box. (You need to be running Android 4.0 and above on your device for this!)
- You will need a file explorer to go to folder where you downloaded APK on your phone or transferred from your computer. We would recommend the ES File Explorer File Manager app, however any file manager would do fine
- Open the file explorer app and go to the folder where you downloaded/transferred the APK file.
└ If you downloaded it directly on your phone, it should be in Download folder.
- Now, tap on the APK file you want to install to and follow the screen to install that app. DO this first for PreBuiltGmsCore.apk, then Velvet.apk and then the GoogleHome.apk.
- Press Home button to come back to Homescreen and select the new Google Home.
- You might need to enable Google Now. Do this: touch and hold on empty Homescreen and tap on the Settings icon. On next screen, enable Google Now by tapping on the toggle button. What else, say ‘Ok Google’ now please!To install, download them 3 files on your Android device, or transfer these to your device if you download them on PC.
Fix for Google Search Force Close
It’s because of the default language selected in the Google Now, that’s causing the force close. So, we just need to change the language that’s your local language, or to the one which is working.
So, touch and hold on the homescreen and then, tap on the Settings icon when it shows up. Tap on Language, then on Voice, and select your choice of language or simply, English UK (which we can confirm is working).
Now, perform a Google Search, just anything, then change the language under voice again, back to English US this time around. This should do the trick. If not, let us know in comments below.
Install Google Home and Google Search using Custom Recovery
Oh btw, there’s another way to install the Google Home. Using a custom recovery, where you just need to flash one .zip file in recovery and it will install all the 3 apps from above. Reboot from recovery and it will be working on your device.
- You would need a custom recovery for this — either of CWM and TWRP would do perfectly — as this is not an APK file we got here, but it’s a .zip file containing the Google Home and new Google Search apps.
- DOWNLOAD GOOGLE HOME (with the new Google Search) | File name: GOOGLEHOME.zip (Size: 20.15 MB)
- Once you’ve downloaded the above file, transfer it to your android device. Remember the location where you transfer it.
- Now boot into recovery mode, and using either CWM or TWRP recovery, select the option to install .zip and then, select this file, GOOGLEHOME.zip.
- Recovery will flash/install the new Google Home launcher on your device, and along with it come the new Google Search app, with the coolest way to wake up and get phone to work yet, Ok Google.
- You might need to enable Google Now. Do this: touch and hold on empty homescreen and tap on the Settings icon. On next screen, enable Google Now by tapping on the toggle button. What else, say ‘Ok Google’ now please!To install, download them 3 files on your Android device, or transfer these to your device if you download them on PC.
So, that’s it. Let us know in comments below how’s new Google Home and Google Search to your liking.