February 27, 2014

Install "Google Now Launcher" on your android phone or tablet [Get "Okay Google" voice activation for Google search ]

Today Google launched the official "Google Now Launcher" on the play store. Until recently it was only available for the Nexus 5 smartphone. From today it can be downloaded onto other older Nexus devices and Google Play edition (GPE) devices like Nexus 7 (2013), Moto G (GPE) etc.

But you can still install the same using side-loading method (APK file), on some devices running Jelly-Bean OS or higher. For example: on Samsung Galaxy S4 or Moto G (Motorola Edition).

Read on to know steps and requirements for both type of installation.

[Method 1] Side-Loading method of Installation (using APK File)

First ensure that you have downloaded and installed the "Google Search" app from playstore. If it's already installed, check if the version is 3.2 or higher. If not update it from playstore.

Now Install the "Google Now Launcher" APK file from the following link and save it on your mobile device or PC.

Click to download: Google Now Launcher APK File

Transfer the APK file to the mobile device memory/SD card if it was saved on a Laptop or PC. Now go to :

Settings >> Security >> Tick the "Unknown Sources" option if it is not already checked.

"Check" mark the Unknown Sources option

This is to allow installation from sources (apk file) other than Google Playstore. 

Next locate the APK file on the android device using a file manager and click to install. The launcher will now be installed.

After the installation is complete, when you hit the home button/icon of your device, it will ask for the option to select the launcher. So select the Google Now Launcher. Next if it asks for the option to copy icons you may do it according to your choice. Copy icons will copy all your previous home screen icons to the Google Now launcher home screen. It is just that simple.

Now you are ready to use features like "Okay Google" voice activation command. Before that ensure these settings:

Go to :

Settings >>Google (
under Accounts) >> Search (under Privacy) >> Make sure Google Now is on >> Voice >> make sure Hotword detection is ticked. Also make sure the Language is set to English(US)

Now you may try speaking "Okay Google" towards your mobile device. The Google Voice search will open up automatically and prompts you to speak. Speak your query/search word; you can also give command such as "Set an alarm for 6:30 AM"

Google Now would speak out search results or execute commands on the device based on what you have spoken to it.

Also you can long press the home screen so that following screen shows up where you can set your preferred wallpaper or chose widgets for your home screen:

   Set wallpaper:

Choose widgets to be placed on Homescreen by long pressing:

[Method 2] : Installation from Google Playstore

This installation method can only be performed on a Nexus device or a Google Play Edition device. For all other devices follow [Method 1] given above.

Click the following link to the Google Now launcher app on the playstore:

Google Now Launcher app on Google Playstore

Install it on the android device and follow similar steps thereafter as given in [Method 1] above.

Your Google Now Launcher and "Okay Google" voice activation commands are ready to run.

"Okay Google" voice activated search and commands !

Swipe the home screen from the left to right to directly open the "Google Now" application/feature. See below:

Swipe from Left to right to open "Google Now" feature 

Google Now feature

After using this "Google Now Launcher" if you wish to revert back to your previous launcher or the default android launcher follow this:

Go to Settings >> Home (under Device) >> Tick the Launcher of your choice >> press Home button/icon

That's it. You have reverted back to the launcher of your choice.


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