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Quick Tip: Use Nova Launcher to Access Google Now [Beginners’ Guide]

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For owners of a device with hardware keys instead of onscreen buttons (Galaxy S3, Note 2, DNA, etc.), accessing Google Now with a simple swipe up from the “Home” button just isn’t possible. Some people either have to long press their Home button or access it from the up-top Search widget. This quick tip will help anyone using Nova Launcher or other third party launchers to assign a simple swipe gesture to their app drawer button for easy access to Google Now.

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This can be performed by other custom launchers such as Apex, Go, and others. For this example, we are using Nova.


1.  From your homescreen, long press on the “App Drawer” button.
2.  Select the option for “Edit.”
3.  Next to Swipe Action, select the “None” text.
4.  A separate page will pop up. On the top, hit “Apps.”
5.  Scroll down until you find “Google.”
6.  Select it.
7.  Under the Edit Shortcut menu, hit “OK.”
8.  Test it. Swipe up on the App Drawer button and you will be taken to Google Now.

And that’s it! No more fuss.

*The rest of the Android Beginners’ Guide is a one-stop shop for all of those new to Android.

  • Worked great, thanks!

  • Matt

    maybe I missed where this is mentioned… Galaxy SIII long press menu button to access google now.

  • I would pay to have a physical button to launch Google Now from my Galaxy Nexus. Google Now deserves a dedicated button, IMO.

  • Rafael Gonzalez

    Is there a launcher that allows you to “swipe to open” icons and folders from the dock BUT will also disable the “press to open” function? Nova let’s you swipe, but it’ll still open by pressing. I don’t like that. Its a nice security feature.

  • LionStone

    I use one swipe up for Settings, two swipes up for G Now. Lovin’ Nova Prime!

  • Dain Laguna

    this is semi unrelated…does anyone know how to force nova to animate the app open app drawer animation? its a subtle little animation that i enjoy for some strange reason and i cant for the life of me figure out how to do it. :/

  • joejoe5709

    I’m still hoping for a live Google Now widget that I can place on a homescreen or as a lockscreen widget. Otherwise, it’s just as easy to swipe from the bottom or hit the mic button on the search bar.

    • Rodeojones000

      You mean something like this? This is the homescreen on my Galaxy Nexus.

      • Johngi

        Your HS looks nice, Please tell me how you got it to look like that.

      • toonz

        Do you have to be rooted?

        • Rodeojones000

          Nope. UCCW is a super customizable widget found in the play store. Anyone can use it. I’m using it on my non-rooted Nexus 10 in addition to my rooted Galaxy Nexus.

  • Notered

    Thanks Tim! This is another one of those “why didn’t I think of that?!” moments! I’ve been using Nova since the beginning but never used the swipe feature.

  • you don’t have to long press anything w/ a physical button. w/ nova prime you just set your physical home button to open google now. I used to have it for google voice search since now improved it a lot.

    so 1 press puts you on the default home screen, another press puts you in google now

  • mb1108

    There are a few ways to access Google Now on the Note II. There is a blue icon with a white lowercase “g” that can be placed on the app dock or lock screen that takes you straight there. I have mine placed on both since I use it a lot. Then, yes you can hold down the home button and hit “google”. But also you can hold don’t the menu button which will bring up a search bar and the keyboard and Google Now. Lastly, you can use the Google search bar to search which also brings up Google Now or hit to microphone to do a voice search. Again my favorite method is to use that blue and white icon with the “g” that is already in the app drawer on the Note II and SIII but the bottom line is you don’t need to get a launcher. Touch Wiz is great so why cover it up?

  • Tfarol

    Awesome tip!! I totally dont use Nova Launcher to its potential!

  • Ryan Frankenstein

    I prefer to make it a gesture/swipe to get to as it is Way too easy to accidentally swipe up on the app button when you mean to just click on it.

  • kilbasar

    Thanks, I appreciate these tips, even power users overlook things like this. Really handy, used this so that when I swipe on gmail or sms, it goes straight to the Compose window, and swiping on gmaps goes straight to navigation.

  • Jack

    you failed to mention that this is only a prime feature. I have the free version and when I edit a shortcut it does not give you the swipe action option.

    • Dave

      Jack… You have failed to support the developer. Why complain?? You should know by know DL gives us info on paid apps… (for the most part :p ) Open your wallet…support… then you will have all these awesome features.

      • Jack

        what the hell do you know about me? just because I haven’t paid for nova launcher prime doesn’t mean I don’t support android devs. at $4 a pop… this feature is not worth it.

        and who’s complaining? I’m simply pointing out that it should have been specified that it’s a nova prime feature. especially with this being a beginner’s guide… it should have been specified.

        • I’d pay for the apps I use most. Support the developer. They work hard to make apps for us.

        • Funguy

          Jack, you still missed the part that this web site only gives tips tricks on paid apps so whenever you try something you see from this website know that it only applies to the paid versions.

          • Jack

            I guess I must have missed that, care to link me to where that’s mentioned?

          • Todd Adams

            Just buy the app! Geez-us…. Its one of the best apps out there!

          • michael arazan

            That’s not always true, half the apps they promote are free. Also the article didn’t state it was for the paid version till you hit the play market link

  • Surreal

    Maybe I’m missing it, but since you have to be on the home screen to gesture over the app drawer button, I’m not seeing how this is faster than just tapping the search bar on the home screen? Help me to understand. Thanks.

    • Correct. Better to use Nova Launcher for its Long-press hardware feature where you can have it launch any app.

    • LionStone

      I double swipe up from any page for Google Now.

    • Dan

      Removed the search bar on the home screen, don’t need to see it all the time. Personally I set mine to swipe down on the screen (like anywhere) launch google now.

  • J. Gilbertson

    Or if you’re a OG Razr owner on JB you just press the Search hardware key and bam Google Now. Long press or short press, it’s your pick!

  • raed

    Which theme is used in this picture

    • fixxmyhead

      snack pack icon pack. got it yesterday cuz i kept seeing on here. gotta admit it looks pretty snazzy

    • Dr_Buttballs


    • Lustre

  • Nexus_FrEak

    Hello Miranda!!

  • Art

    Nice tip. You can also access Google Now through a shortcut on your lock screen. For instance, on my Galaxy Note 2 I only have to swipe up on the Google icon and that takes me direct to Google Now.

  • athingunique

    In ADW Settings: Gestures>Swipe Dock>Open App>Google

    • Dave

      I didnt even know ADW was still around!! LOL Going way back!

      • QQpayne

        ADW just had a huge update for compatibility and feature improvements. Now its fully operational with JB. I still use nova instead though.