The Google Experience launcher isn't new, it's the Google Search app

The Google Experience launcher isn't new, it's the Google Search app
Before the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 were officially announced, there was a theory run out by Ron Amadeo that Google might be aiming to decouple the Android launcher under the name Google Experience Launcher, but it turns out while that does look to be true, it isn't happening exactly how we expected. As we were playing with the Nexus 5, we noticed that the launcher seemed to be connected to the Google Search app. When we did a bit of digging, it turns out that none other than Mr. Amadeo has already sussed out the deeper connection here.

It turns out that instead of breaking out the launcher, Google has folded its launcher into the Google Search app. The most obvious connection to prove this is the fact that Google Now has a dedicated page to the left of the default homescreen. Of course, the evidence piles up the more you dig. When searching, the results now offer direct links to open results in apps that are installed on your device. And, as Mr. Amadeo is wont to find, the Google Search APK from Android 4.4 contains assets that had been part of the 4.3 launcher; and, if you attempt to sideload the Android 4.4 GoogleHome.apk without also loading up the Android 4.4 Google Search app, the launcher simply won't work. 

So, it looks like the Google Experience launcher will be coming to the Google Play Store, but maybe not in the way we thought. The Google Experience launcher could simply come as part of the Google Search app, along with Google Now updates. It's unclear as yet if the launcher additions will be pushed to older versions of Android, but it does look like the launcher has been inexorably tied to Google Search, which really isn't all that surprising given that this is Google we're talking about. 

source: Ars Technica

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13 Comments

1. androidornothing

Posts: 143; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Thats cool. I dont care how it comes as long as it comes

2. woodshop20

Posts: 459; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

I wonder how Apex and Nova launchers are going to work then - will they lose the Search function since the launcher is included within the Search app?

3. alltechinside

Posts: 248; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

I don't think they will (as in the search function will work). The question for me is that will apex and nova have google now integration?(swipe left to access google now) Considering that the Google search app are not part of AOSP, I'm not so sure...

13. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

One of my first impressions of how Google Experience accesses Google Now is that it resembles the iPhone. I'm used to having my main home screen as the centre screen and being able to swipe left or right to other home screens. I configure Nova for infinite scroll as well. If I want Google Now taking up an entire home screen, I would have dedicated an entire screen for Google Now widgets. I can understand Google wants Google Now to be more prominent on Android phones. By having a dedicated home screen by default, it would encourage more people to use it. I currently have to manually launch it via an icon as I don't use widgets. Google Now cards also appear in my notification screen. Right now, I don't find Google Now to be as useful as my current setup. Having cards come and go, and be context sensitive is interesting, but I'm just used to actively getting the information I need. When I actively request whatever info I need, I know exactly where the app shortcut or widget is on my home screen. I'd rather not search through a list of cards hoping to find the info I need and then have to launch the app if it isn't there. Google Now is too tied into Google apps and services. I like the navigation card, but I want it to launch Waze instead of Google Maps. Maybe that will happen sometime in the future as Google bought Waze. I would rather have Waze driving info instead of Maps as I like Waze a lot more.

12. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I have app shortcuts and widgets for the search function on my Nova home screen. I would expect that I can still do the same.

4. alltechinside

Posts: 248; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

If Google does push this app to older devices, I'm unsure if the touchless control (saying "Okay, google" from the launcher) feature will work? Considering that not all devices have Snapdragon s800 processor (which has a low power feature for voice), aren't they just going to kill battery life for most devices? Or I guess google could just disable that feature for those devices.

5. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

That feature is only likely to work on other Snapdragon 800 devices, because the battery expense would be too much if the hardware isn't specialized.

6. alltechinside

Posts: 248; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

That would make sense. Oh and you might want to fix this part: "...as Mr. Amadeo is wont to find, the Google Search..."

7. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

What's wrong with that part?

8. alltechinside

Posts: 248; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

My apologies. For some reason I thought it was spelled as "won't". Silly me :( I disgraced the grammar nazis...

10. alltechinside

Posts: 248; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

Since we are talking to each other, I might as well ask you these questions. What do you think about blackberry's future? They seem to have failed going private so idk what they are planning to do. And since I'm talking about "private" what is the benefit of going private (for blackberry)? What could be blackberry's best strategy to be successful? Maybe you could write an article about this. I can't be the only person that is curious about this...Sorry for being completely off topic.

9. terabyteRouser

Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

So, could it be that I might be able to download stock android from the Play Store?!

11. AndroidKitKat

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

Maybe, but i know GoogleHome.apk application is stub app. It only opens Google Search app. If you want to try Android 4.4 Launcher, you can download KitKat Launcher on Play Store. It is based on Launcher3 AOSP(Android Open Source Project). Launcher3 is new on AOSP. KitKat Launcher Play Store mobile link: market://details?id=com.ovidos.android.kitkat.laun​cher3

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