Want that Nexus 5 feel on your Android device? The Google Now launcher is now available in the Play Store. The launcher, which brings up Google Now with a quick swipe to the left from the home screen, was one of the selling points for KitKat. Now it’s one of the reasons to have an Android device.
On launch, the Google Now launcher was one of the better features of Android 4.4. While there were a host of other tweaks and changes keeping us interested, the Google Now launcher was far and away the coolest tweak we’d seen from Android in a long time. Though Google Now was never hard to find from the home screen of a Nexus device, this launcher ushered in a new era of utility.
We’ve been testing it on a Nexus 4 for a while this morning, and it just might be quicker than the swipe-up-from-the-home-button method we’ve been using. It also works well with either Dalvik or the new ART runtime, and we’ve migrated back and forth just to make sure. No issues, and no fuss. We can also happily report that the swipe-up method is still around.
The launcher is only available to Nexus or Google Play Edition devices, unfortunately. If you have one of those, though, we highly suggest you give it a shot. Unsurprisingly, it has a five star rating in the Play Store. After the Nexus 5, our beloved Nexus 4 just felt a little dated, but now — we’re falling for it all over again.