Google Now has to be one of the most important features to debut with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Touted to be a better competitor to Apple’s Siri, Google Now lets you use voice recognition to get various information or perform different tasks. Google Now also tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, when the next train will arrive as you’re standing on the platform, or your favorite team’s score while they’re playing, in the form of ‘cards’. All of this is automatic and needs no user intervention, as Google Now learns your habits and uses them to improve the information it provides.
Google Now is supposed to be an Android 4.1 feature, but as always, those great minds at the XDA Developers forum have figured out a way to make it run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices. The procedure does require you to have a rooted device, but that’s a small requirement for something as awesome as Google Now.
NOTE: Voice recognition does not work in Google Now on Android 4.0 and probably won’t in the future, but all other features work properly.
Read on to find out how you can install Google Now on your Android 4.0-running device.
Following are the pre-requisites for installing Google Now:
- Your device must be running an Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 ROM. Google Now will NOT work on Gingerbread or prior Android versions.
- Your device must be rooted/have ClockworkMod recovery installed. Method I to install requires ClockworkMod recovery, while method II requires root access.
How to Install Google Now on Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs
Method I: Installing using ClockworkMod Recovery
This method has more chances of working than Method II. Use method II if you do not have ClockworkMod recovery installed on your device.
- Download the Google Now file.
Download Link | Filename: GoogleNowICS.zip
- Copy the GoogleNowICS.zip file to the SD card on your device (internal or external according to what you device needs in order to flash files from recovery).
- Reboot phone into ClockworkMod recovery.
- Select install zip from sdcard, then select choose zip from sdcard. Scroll to the GoogleNowICS.zip file and select it. Confirm installation by selecting Yes.
- After installation is complete, select go back then select reboot system now to reboot your device. You can then use Google Now on your device by clicking on the Google or Search icon in the apps menu.
Method II: Installing using the Google Now APK File
This method may or may not work. Only try it if you do not have ClockworkMod recovery on your device.
- Install Root Browser Lite from the Google Play Store on your device.
- Open Root Browser on your device, click Continue. Then, grant it root access when you get a prompt on the screen by pressing the Allow/Grant button.
- Click on the green arrow at the top two times to go to the outer most folder. Then, go into /system/app, then rename the file “GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk” to “GoogleQuickSearchBox.bak”.
- Now, download the Google Now APK file:
Download Link | Filename: signed_velvet-voicereco.apk
- Copy the “signed_velvet-voicereco.apk” file to your device’s SD card.
- Go into Settings » Security on your device and enable “Unknown sources” so that you can install apps from the SD card.
- Then, using Root Browser (or any other file manager app), navigate to where you copied the apk file (/sdcard will be the default location in most cases). Tap on the file, select Install to begin installing Google Now.
- You can now use Google Now on your device by clicking on the Google or Search icon in the apps menu.
Google Now is now installed on your Android 4.0 running device. You can check out some of the list of commands that Google Now responds to → here. Try it out, and let us know how it works in the comments below.