Google just released an update to its official Google Search Android app, and it’s a big one! At face value and on most devices, it brings a few nice features and new cards. However, the update packs a whole lot more, provided that you’re willing to install an additional APK to unlock it.
The advertized changes detailed on the official Android Google+ page state that there are three new cards: a website update card to bring you blog post updates, a news topic card to show you articles from around the web, and a what to watch card for movie and TV show recommendations. The update also brings Waze traffic incident data about your daily commute, repeatable reminders, rugby sports data, and in-store pickup package data. Furthermore, users not on KitKat also get to enjoy a slightly refreshed UI that brings in some of the buttons previously found only on the KitKat launcher’s Google Search page.
However, that’s only scratching the surface. The latest Search update also brings the previously covered Google Experience Launcher from KitKat to all devices. However, while the launcher code is now present within the Google Search app, an additional APK is still needed to access the launcher functionality. Luckily, the required GoogleHome.apk file is readily available. And now with the latest Google Search update, the launcher looks right at home with any device capable of running the latest version of Google Search (Android 4.1 and above).
Make your way over to the Google Play Store entry to make sure you are running the latest version of Google Search. And if you’re after the launcher as well, be sure to head over to the previously covered KitKat launcher thread or the APK at the bottom of this previous AndroidPolice post and install GoogleHome.apk. Obviously, for this to work, you need to be on the latest version of Google Search, which hasn’t rolled out to everyone yet. To make sure you are on the latest version, hit up the AndroidPolice via link.
Update: Apparently, even with the correct GoogleHome.apk and the latest version of search, some users are still not able to use the Google Experience launcher. Luckily, XDA Forum Member rwSN1PER was able to find a solution by copying the libgoogle_recognizer_jni_l.so file from this thread into the /system/lib directory. In his words:
In this thread http://forum.xda-developers.co… there is a zip file with apps pulled from the Nexus 5. If your device is rooted copy the libgoogle_recognizer_jni_l.so file in the lib folder located in the system directory, This fixed the problem on my Galaxy S4.