Google is testing a revamped Pixel Launcher search bar for the Google Pixel 3
It may not even be the most popular launcher app on Android (that reward probably goes to Nova Launcher), but Google’s Pixel Launcher definitely up there among the upper echelon of launchers. The only official way to use the Google Pixel Launcher is to have a Google Nexus, Pixel, or Android One device. With each new Google device, the Pixel Launcher receives a few tweaks here and there to coincide with the new design language of the latest software release or to better accommodate the device itself. We are now seeing an example of the former case as Google appears to be testing a revamped search bar for the Pixel Launcher that will ship with the Google Pixel 3.
Now, before you peek at the images, we wanted to clarify that we don’t actually have a Google Pixel 3. Instead, XDA Senior Member paphonb modified the existing Pixel Launcher APK from the Google Pixel 2 to enable some hidden, in-development features of the launcher (more details below). Hence, the screenshots showing off the changes are from my OnePlus 5 (the package conflicted with the existing launcher on my Pixel 2 XL, so I had to use another device). Without further ado, here is the revamped search bar on the Pixel 3.
Google Pixel 2 XL Pixel Launcher vs. Google Pixel 3 Pixel Launcher
As you can see in these screenshots, the search bubble has split in two. We’re not entirely sure what the purpose of this change is or how it will jibe with Google’s rumored Material Design 2 set to be unveiled during Google I/O 2018. It’s a rather small change, and maybe part of a larger re-design that will be arriving in the future.
When the Google Pixel 2 was in the works, we caught glimpses of the revamped bottom search bar before its release. That version of the launcher has since been made available for all by many APK modders including paphonb, credited earlier, and AmirZ. With that in mind, keep an eye out on XDA as paphonb will soon publish an update to his modded app with these new changes available as a toggle.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering how we know this revamped search bar is for the Google Pixel 3, it’s because paphonb discovered the following in-development parameters in the latest official APK:
That should hopefully clear any doubts you may have had.