Now that Google Assistant is coming to all devices running Android Marshmallow or higher, roughly one out of every three Android users will no longer be able to access the old Google Now interface. The Assistant, which was previously exclusive to Pixel devices, takes over your home button long-press gesture and completely replaces all of the old Google voice search functionality.
Google has a practice known as dogfooding, where they use their employees to test new and upcoming features for their various services. Back in March, they accidentally released a dogfood version of YouTube on Google Play, and many Android users got their first behind-the-scenes glance at the internal testing features.
One of the most useful features of the Pixel Launcher is access to the Google Discover page. Initially, this feature was exclusive to Google's launchers, forcing users to give up the customization of apps like Action Launcher if they wanted the quick access to relevant news and updates it provided. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.
As Android's de facto virtual assistant, Google Now lets us speak directly to our phones in plain English to answer our questions and perform many basic tasks. With the app open, just say "Okay Google," then wait for the beep, and ask almost any question.
The launch of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was also the launch of Google Now, a service that was supposed to one-up Siri, the resident personal assistant for iOS devices. Google Now offered enticing features, but its launch went unnoticed by a great many Android users.
For some strange reason, Google Now is unavailable in several countries across the globe. Users from Albania, China, Cyprus, Malta, Nepal, Puerto Rico, Tunisia, and many more big countries have reported for years that the service doesn't work in their area, mostly likely because Location Reporting is not available in their region. This is really a shame, because Google Now has some great features.
Android's personal assistant is more than just a sassy backtalker—it's a full-on suite of all the information you could need at a given time. Google Now, as it's called, uses data from various sources to predict what you'll want to know before you even search for it, and it's an amazing experience once you've got everything set up.
The app formerly known as Google Experience Launcher is now officially called the Google Now Launcher in honor of its most prominent feature, Google Now. Only problem is, this launcher is still exclusive to the Nexus 5 smartphone.
Exclusive to only a handful of smartphones, including the Nexus 5, the Google Experience Launcher allows us to open Google Now simply by speaking out a certain phrase, at any time—dubbed a "hotword."
As highlighted in our article on how to enable Google Now in Action Launcher, doing so takes away the Quickdrawer. This effectively ruins one of the more beneficial features of Action Launcher, making it a tough choice between the two options. So I looked for a solution and found one that works.
The stock home screen app that comes with your phone is nothing compared to Nova Launcher. Not only is Nova faster, but it's got tons of customization tweaks like gestures, adjustable grid sizes, and icon packs, just to name a few.
When you press the "Call" button on most Bluetooth headsets, the majority of Android devices will launch a built-in Voice Dialer app. This app has been around since the dawn of Android, and has received very few interface or functionality updates.
Google released its long-awaited Google Now launcher a couple months ago, allowing users to access Google Now with the simple command of the voice. As great as the feature is, it requires that our screens be on, unlike the Moto X's "active listening" service that operates with Google Now, activating through a screen-off state.
While Siri came up on the scene with hardly any competition back in 2011, Google Now has not only caught up to Apple's intelligent personal assistant, but also excelled in certain areas—with its ability to quickly answer questions, give recommendation, and even deliver information that it predicts a user will want.
Update 10/14: Developer paphonb has added rootless Google Now integration to the leaked Pixel 2 launcher, so now, anyone running Android Nougat or Oreo can get the full Pixel 2 home screen experience. For those running Lollipop or Marshmallow, we've left the unaltered leaked version linked out below, but we've added a new link for the tweaked version with Google Now integration.
The Google Now gesture included in the Google Now Launcher and on Nexus devices isn't something I regularly utilize, and you might not either. There is a way to disable it, which is a good idea if you were executing it accidentally, but what's even better than disabling it? Repurposing it!
The biggest pet peeve of many Google Now users has always been the fact that you can't toggle basic system functions with voice commands. In fact, this was such an annoyance that folks even went so far as to apply root mods to get the functionality.
These last few months have been a Lollipop lovefest, and I'm not talking about the candy. Android's latest OS has been exalted for its embrace of Material Design, and we've certainly given Lollipop its fair share of coverage as well; check out all its new features and ways to make older devices get some of the new look and feel of Android 5.0.
Almost all modern Android devices have a gesture that will take you directly to Google Now. For most phones and tablets, it's a simple swipe up from the home button. With a Samsung or an older Android device, it's only a matter pressing and holding the home button.
When on-screen buttons were introduced alongside Android 4.0, it didn't take long before Google added a gesture to these virtual navigation keys. Since then, an upward swipe originating from the home button has always been a shortcut to Google Now on Nexus devices.
For now, the redesigned and fresh-faced Android 4.4 KitKat is exclusive to the new Nexus 5, though it will be rolling out to other Google (Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10) and Google Play Editions (Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One) devices in the next week or two.
There are hundreds of sites that host high-res wallpapers for your Android's home screen, but most of us stick with the same old drab stock wallpaper because we're too lazy to go hunt for new ones.
One of the better additions in the stock Android launcher is the Google Now page. Residing to the left of the home screen, this page presents a host of information based on the user's interests, which Google bases on analyzed data. Recently, the Google Now page design received a makeover which Nova Launcher users can now enjoy.
Google has an exclusive launcher for its Pixel devices, and it's pretty slick. But even though we've found ways to get this home screen app on other phones, certain features simply wouldn't work unless you were rooted. That's finally changed.
With the release of the Nexus 5 back in 2013 came the Google Now Launcher, which has become the go-to choice for many Android users, especially those who prefer the Nexus line. With its integration of the Google Now page and the always-listening hotword detection, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more complete and useful launcher.
Google Now is a wonderfully powerful service—with its predictive cards and voice search, it serves as a great starting point for any searches you need done. In fact, Samsung liked it so much that they decided to build the "Okay, Google" hotword detection right into the Galaxy S5's stock launcher.
The new Google Now Launcher has hotword detection and one-swipe access to Google Now, but personally, it's not enough to convert me away from other launchers like Apex or Nova. Just because it's Google's official launcher for stock Android doesn't make it better than all the rest.
It seems like custom Google Now commands are a dime a dozen these days. With Commandr for Google Now giving non-rooted users their first taste of custom voice commands just a couple weeks ago, you may wonder why we're covering this subject again.
Google's Pixel lineup hangs its hat on smooth software and a polished UI. At the core of this experience is the Pixel Launcher, a home screen app that is often imitated, but never perfectly duplicated. That is, until developer AmirZ released the latest version of his Rootless Pixel Launcher port.
Google Now is an extremely intelligent personal assistant that automatically updates and prepares the most pertinent information for you on your Android device. Traffic updates, alternatives routes, weather conditions, and other important data is constantly being monitored and updated for you.
If you're using an Android phone or tablet with Google Now, then you and your little ones are in for a little treat. Just tell Google, "Let's Go Caroling," and watch the holiday metamorphosis as your device changes into a personal, karaoke caroling machine. Just in time for the holidays! Choose from one of five famous Christmas songs (Jingle Bells, Up on the House Top, Deck the Halls, O Christmas Tree, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas), press Play, then keep up with the bouncing ball as it h...
The latest update to Google Search—which is Google Now—includes the ability to switch languages on the fly. This means that "spanglish", or any other popular combination of languages, will be understood in context by Google's search engine. The feature is live, so give it a shot for yourself. With recent additions of parking location tracking, bill reminders, and a stellar World Cup tracker, Google Now just continues to get better and better. Let us know what you think of the latest addition ...
Of the Google services that come bundled in Android devices, none is more useful than Google Now. By combining search with timely cards that hope to guess your next move before you even make it, Google Now is everything a virtual assistant should be.
We love Google Now around here (okay, maybe I do more than others), and today Big G snuck in a nice little functionality when searching for an artist. Exclusive to the US for now, when you enter an artist or band into Search, you'll be presented with listening options for apps you have installed on your device.
The latest update to Google Search, which is rolling out right now, brings automatic parking spot pinning through its Google Now platform.
Google's working on a new mobile operating system called Fuchsia, and while we don't know much about how they intend to use it, we're now getting a glimpse at what the main interface will look like.
If you haven't heard yet, Google is revamping the Play Store with version 8.0. While it so far doesn't seem to have any life changing features, there are ones that certainly will make your life easier, like their new updates feature.
A new feature of Google's Gboard for Android lets users doodle an emoji in order to find it. The change was part of a few updates introduced earlier today.
It would only make sense that Google is one of the most active app developers on the Android platform, particularly when you consider that they develop the platform itself. From my count, there are an astounding 117 unique apps that the search giant and its subsidiaries have published on the Google Play Store.
Update: Google's new Pixel models have been released! Check out our full guides on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL to see all the details, but we'll leave the rumor roundup intact below for posterity.