How-to: Install Google Now Launcher on Any Android Device

Google Now is a sort of an intelligent personal assistant for your Android device that analyzes repeated user behavior and then predicts user requirements based on that data via cards. Information such as the weather when you’ll be starting for work, the best route to commute to work on St.Patrick’s day, and so on. When Google launched the Nexus 5 with Android 4.4 KitKat, it shipped it with a redesigned home screen that gave Google Now more prominence via a separate page. The new feature, called Google Now Launcher was integrated as part of the Google Search feature. If you have a device running Android 4.4, you can download the app on the Play store. If you have a device running Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean”, but still want to make use of Google Now in more KitKatish manner, you can still get Google Now launcher, though with a little extra work.

Installing Google Now Launcher on Android 4.3

  1. Ensure that you have the latest version Google Search. If you open up the Play Store app and check in the My Apps section, you will know if the app needs to be updated.
  2. Head over to the XDA Developers page, download this file on to your PC and extract it.
  3. On your Android device, head over to Settings->Security, scroll down to Unknown sources and select the checkbox.
  4. Transfer the GoogleHome.apk that you extracted to your PC to your Android device. You can do it via email, Dropbox, Google Drive, or USB.
  5. Tap on the file to install it on your Android.
  6. Now, go to your Home screen, and you will be able to see the option to select the Google Now launcher.

Installing Google Now Launcher on Android 4.1

If you are running Android version 4.1 or below, you can still get Google Now launcher, but don’t expect it to perform like it would on an Android 4.4 device. You are likely to encounter performance issues, but if you still want to go ahead with it, you do so at your own risk.

  1. Download the APK files in the XDA Developers thread to your PC and extract them.
  2. On your Android device, navigate to Settings->Security, scroll down to Unknown sources and select the checkbox.
  3. Transfer the extracted files from your PC to your Android device. You can do it via email, Dropbox, Google Drive, or via USB. Install PrebuiltGmsCore.apk, Velvet.apk, and GoogleHome.apk in the given order.
  4. Go to the Home screen and select the launcher.

That’s it! Google Now will occupy one of your Home screens. You can now bug Google with all your ridiculous questions and see how much of it Google Now understands.

Do let us know in the comments how the launcher worked for you.