Google releases alternative Android launcher based on Now

Google has released an alternative launcher for Android devices. It is based on the Now search and information service. The software adjusts the home screens, among other things, so that Google Now can be opened with a swipe to the left.

The Google Now launcher has been released by the internet giant in the Play Store and is suitable for Nexus devices and other devices sold through Play. The software may also work on other devices that have a ‘bare’ version of the Android operating system. However, Android 4.4 is necessary to run the Now-launcher.

Installing the Now launcher opens the search and information service with a swipe to the left. This is similar to how Apple has integrated the search engine on iOS. In addition, the application launcher has been slightly modified, as has the interface to change elements on the home screen. Google’s voice control can be started from the home screen by saying ‘Ok Google’, which is on by default. This feature was first introduced on the Moto X. Incidentally, this functionality can be turned off via the settings.

The functionality of Now is already integrated on several Android devices. By making it a launcher and packing it into an app, Google probably wants to make integrating Now into Android easier: the software can be refreshed this way without the need to update the entire operating system.