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Google Search Receives Update to Version 3.1.8, Brings New Cards and GEL to Android 4.1+ Devices


Google Search received a big update this evening to version 3.1.8, bringing with it a gang of new features. The crown jewel for most users will be the ability to use the official Google Experience Launcher that comes stock on the Nexus 5, plus its always-listening search capabilities and fancy animations to boot. But keep in mind, you will also need to download the Home apk from the Nexus 5 dump for that feature to work. You can download the additional apk and sideload it right here

In terms of what’s new for Search, Google added in three new cards; Website Update card, News Topic card, and the What to Watch card. With the Website Update card, users can predetermine a blog they enjoy (like DL, for example), and choose to have updates from that site to appear inside of Google Now. The News Topic card brings user-selected category news right to Google Now, which allows users to see news from all around the web about content they like. Finally, the What to Watch card can give you recommendations for TV shows and Movies to watch if you and your loved one are planning a night at home.

The update also included a few other features and changes, which they have highlighted right below.

There are a few other great additions in Google Now with today’s update: you can see traffic incidents on your commute using real-time data from Waze, set repeat reminders, get real time scores for rugby teams, and also see when your packages are ready for in-store pickup.

In summary, this update will allow anyone running Android 4.1+ to utilize the Google Experience Launcher by simply sideloading the official Google Home apk, and then experience the joys that Nexus 5 owners have been feeling for the past week or so.

You can grab the Google Search update by heading to Google Play, and then make sure to download the Home apk which we have listed on this post here. If you have yet to see the Google Search update available in Google Play, you can sideload it from downloading the apk right here [mirror].

Play Link

Via: +Android

Cheers everyone who sent this in!

  • Erik Johann Limpiado Riconalla

    I really need an answer guys please help me. Is the downloadable nexus 5 feature just for the nex 4? cuz i tried it in my nexus 10 and it lags as hell

  • nexus 4 user

    hi i installed the google home launcher and i have latest google search app version , but still not able to get the “ok google” on my google search bar how to get it.? It responds to the word but i want the ‘Ok google’ on it is there any way to get it on my nexus 4 running 4.4 kitkat.

  • Kris

    Hello all, I installed it and it works perfectly, expect that on the home screen the bottom row is still black, although the above one is translucent. Any ideas on how to fix that? Thanks! 🙂

  • RB

    I’m using GEL on my n4 with 4.4 onboard.”ok google” works fine,but when I use it once or twice the ok google command disappears from the google search window….any specific reason for this ?

  • Has anyone tried this on their N10? I’m seeing some mixed results from different websites.

  • richcricketz

    + Thousand Likes to you Sir

  • Ozzy Likefatmike

    It’s not working on my Galaxy Tab 3, already update the Google Search & Side Load the GEL apk, installed properly the still using the TouchWiz UI

  • jim

    Put it on my nexus, was no big deal really, went back to nova launcher

  • blu_jay

    Why isn’t my google search bar loading on my galaxy tab gt-p6800 7.7”

  • Dale Burke

    Launcher always tells me that Google Search has stopped working on trying to open then just goes away on my Droid Razr Maxx 4.1.2. Don’t think they did much homework on this one.

  • Dragonscourgex

    I am having problem on my Galaxy Note 10.1. It just keep crashing when I try to open up Google Now.

  • wade j. morrison

    But the launcher keeps crashing on my HTC evo 4g lte.

  • Auggie

    Ok, I need help! i have tried everything on my Razr Maxx HD and nothing, every time i try the launcher i get “unfortunately, google search has stopped”. any ideas? I have switched the language and everything. google now and google play store are both on the latest updates. oh, and for some reason the hot word is just “google” ever since i got the latest update. Help is much appreciated!

    • D.B.

      Having the same issue with my Droid Razr Maxx

      • auggie

        Figured out the hot word problem, just update the default offline recognition language. But launcher still not working!!

  • Sounava

    I sideloaded the apk in my Galaxy Nexus, but I cannot add more homescreens. can any one else please confirm?

    • auggie

      Slide icon to the right screen and u can make more!

      • Sounava

        Tried. Not happening for me. 🙁 That’s why I posted here

  • droidrazredge

    I seem to be running into some issues. Can anyone that has had or is having the same issues point me to some suggestion on how to alleviate these issues? The Google Play update for Search 3.1.8 was pushed to my device and I updated that. I then proceeded to download the GEL launcher from the link provided in the above post. After installing it I get “PLACHOLDER TEXT: Google search not found”. I uninstalled the GEL and installed it again and the same error. I then read through the comments and did some of the suggestions. I uninstalled the search update then proceeded to install the Search update 3.1.8 from the same post that the GEL launcher link was in. That installed fine. I then uninstalled the GEL and reinstalled again. Now I get the “PLACHOLDER TEXT: Google search not found” and when I force the home-screen to be the GEL I get “Google Search has stop responding error” I am just going to go back to the Play Store update and uninstall GEL until someone can provide some feedback. If it helps into finding the root of my problem I am using an OG Razr Maxx based off of the Ti OMAP 4430 SOC.

  • diar

    Installed on GN3. “OK Google” not working..is there another step to take?

    • derek connolly

      having the same issue with the GS4 vzw. Everything else works except hotword detection.

  • ozyman666

    Dumb question. Will the OK Google always on work if I’m using Nova Launcher or does default need to be set to GEL?

  • Daniel

    But does package tracking work again? It used to, but hasn’t for months :-

  • Jason Kahn

    Here are my thoughts, have to figure out how to convey this to Google. When Majel speaks to you her voice should be linked not media volume not notification volume, that way if I have my ringer muted I can hear her speak, and add the ability to turn bluetooth and wifi on and off. Other than that they have completely knocked it out of the park IMHO.

  • deadpenguins

    Maybe my searches will actually go through now! Almost every time I search using the search bar it just hangs up.

  • stabone

    I’m getting Google Search has stopped. Using the Razr M. I have the new search installed.

  • redbar0n11

    Anyone with GNex running this? I’m curious to try it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this will drain my battery faster than Nova. Anyone have any results to share? I’m running CM 10.2 – 4.3.1.

    • Jason Kahn

      I will keep you posted, I am Stock on the GNEX

      • redbar0n11

        How goes it? Any update?

        • Jason Kahn

          No noticeable effect on battery life, doesn’t even show up in the battery useage list. It’s a GNEX running stock android for now so, it will go go about 4 hours moderate usage, 2 hours screen on time and about 8 hours with wifi and light useage.

          System performance feels the same overall.

          I have noticed a few glitches, particularly when asking it to open apps, the screen blacks out for a couple of seconds.

          I would absolutely give it a shot. Also make sure you download the offline speech library that seems to be the most reliable way of getting hotword detection to work.

          • redbar0n11

            Awesome. Thanks!

    • jim

      I put it on my gnex, im running Bamf rom, worked fine but i went back to Nova launcher

  • Manbearpig

    Anyone having problems with the Verizon data tracker not working with this launcher? Got a note 2

  • theycallmerayj

    Been waiting for the auto send text feature on my Maxx. This new update is really awesome. Google is definitely continuing to add features that people will actually use. And they are doing so to a large selection of phones with this working on all 4.1+ phones.

  • Mike

    I sideloaded the GEL apk on my galaxy nexus, but it doesnt show up anywhere. How can i get the GEL launcher active?

    • Mike

      It doesnt show up as an active launcher

      • ryan savini

        Sideload the new Google search update in the post above and it should work…

    • Jason Kahn

      I had this problem to, not sure why it did it, what I did is went to the market installed NOVA launcher, which then asked me to select a launcher when I pressed the home button. It had the option for GEL listed selected set it to always, uninstalled NOVA, the dialog popped up asking me to select a Launcher. Selected Always use GEL and it now works as intended.

  • John Huie

    sorry if this is an obvious question, but is the GoogleHome.apk like a launcher? Can I install it on my Galaxy s3?

  • mmeiklejohn

    English language (US) search now works, before I had to us UK. I am having trouble getting the hotword aka “ok google” working. Any ideas?

    • mmeiklejohn

      nevermind, went to google settings > offline speech recognition > updated english US and it works now

      • Jason Kahn

        This suggestion fixed everything, although I had to clear data and do it twice to get it to recognize my contact list.

  • Bobbyn01

    Now all I need is the nexus 5 dialer and I can satiate my new phone desires until the nexus ships.

  • Chippah

    If Tom Hanks got cut off while driving, he’d be Tom Honks.

  • TJ

    I installed all three required apps for Launcher On Verizon Note 3
    (Google Play Services 4.0, Google Search, and the Google Home .apk.),
    and I set up Direct Dial Widget on the home screen. I tried to dial with widget but It’s giving me an
    error message “the app isnt installed” Does anyone know why?

  • DanSan

    threw this on my GS4 last night running CM 10.1.3. i liked a few parts of it but other things just threw me off. the app drawer was like 6 high by 4 wide and completely ugly. didnt like i am stuck with only 2 home screens. I did like the google now on the left swipe and the listening google search bar though.

    i use nova on a 11×7 grid, no dock so i dont think its for me just yet. ill stick with nova

    • Ryan

      I believe you have unlimited homescreens, just drag something to the right and it will create a new one.

      • DanSan

        nope. it maxed out at 3 home screens. not like its a big deal because thats all i use anyways

  • Alan Chavez

    Noob question here. I have an unrooted stock GSIII. Do I have to be rooted to sideload and install the Google Home apk and get the GEL?
    Thanks in advance

    • Ronald Bernard

      There is no root required to do this as long as your are on 4.1 or higher. Some people Are experiencing issues.

      • Alan Chavez

        Awesome Thanks.

    • ryan savini

      nope, just download a file explorer. download the apk., put it on your SD card, open file exploerer and jsut install the apk. done deal

    • cornbread

      No. Just download the link provided by Tim above. Make sure you have your phone setup to install “unknown” sources in the settings menu.

  • It’s also worth noting that if you have a 10″ tablet running Android 4.1 (like a Motorola Xoom or a Galaxy Tab 2), it won’t work either. If you try to run the GEL on Android 4.1 in 10″ tablet mode, it just makes Google Search force close.

  • ryan savini

    keep getting “PLACHOLDER TEXT: google search not found”………..

    • ryan savini

      nevermind. if youre getting that message, Sideload the Google Search APK. above and then reinstall the GEL… worked for me!

      • DeAnna Sowder

        Great tip! I didn’t think it was a big deal I downloaded the Search APK after, but it made a difference. I uninstalled Home, then reinstalled and it works great, thanks!

        • nailbomb3

          Did you push that one lib to /system as well because I still can not get it working on the Razr Maxx.

          • DeAnna Sowder

            I only pushed the Search and Home APK’s.

  • circuspeanut

    I sideloaded Kit Kat onto my Nexus 7 (2013) yesterday and was happy to see that the GEL doesn’t crash like it did on Jelly Bean. Unfortunately, in landscape mode, only the top 10% or so of the icon labels were visible. As much as I liked having Google Now just a swipe away, I went back to the stock launcher.

  • Chippah

    Wtf is Google doing with these updates FFS?
    hangouts .122 was out like over 7 days ago, shows the update date,
    but no update available, you have to sideload.

    Now Google Search same thing..

    If Google wants thinks they want to take on imessage & Facetime they are on crack
    with these shenanigans.

    • Adrynalyne

      Google search came to me fine. Not hangouts though.

  • MustWarnOthers

    I threw this on CM10.2 on my old Epic 4g Touch, the best part about it is how smooth and responsive it is. When you touch the search bar up top, everything is instant. The voice response for voice search is instant and the left hand page Google Now slides over and back without a hiccup.

    This is a really awesome step for Google Search and Google Now, and as they both evolve together, this launcher will become extremely powerful.

  • steveP

    Working great on my VZW Gnex 4.2.2

    • Jason Kahn

      I got hotwords to work once then it stopped, did you do anything to get hotwords functioning. This is only when using the GEL, with the stock launcher the hotword detection works fine

      • Ronald Bernard

        What is this hotwords you speak of.

        • Jason Kahn

          When you say OK Google NOW to launch directly into voice search.

          • Ronald Bernard

            Oh. Duh. On MotoX so I am good regardless bit mine is working in GEL.

        • Jason Kahn

          When you say “OK GOOGLE NOW” to launch directly into voice search

    • KenBarnum

      Do you have black bars at the top and bottom or are they transparent?
      Mine are black on Shiny Rom 4.3.

  • Ronald Bernard

    Friend installed on his G1. Keeps getting placeholder Google search not found. Any ideas?

    • ryan savini

      sideload the new google search from this post, should fix everything

      • Ronald Bernard

        Gonna ask a very stupid question but I am a bit of a noob. When you say sideload does that mean you have to do something other than just downloading the files and installing them? I had no issues on my moto x by just downloading and installing but my friend is still having issues and has tried pretty much everything everyone has suggested. Didn’t know if side loading was a different process and may help

        • droidrazredge

          “Sideloading” is just another word for installing an Android application onto your phone, from somewhere other than the Google Play Store. While this is generally a bad idea for beginners (you never know what kind of viruses you can catch on the internet), there are times when you need to test an app from a trusted developer, or even install a leaked version of something official (like a new Google Play Store, Google Maps, etc.).

          Take heed. This should never be used as a way to circumvent paying for games or applications on Google Play. With Android being the most targeted mobile OS in regard to viruses and malware, stick to the Play Store if possible. This is actually one of the main reasons why Android doesn’t allow sideloading by default (but this can be turned off).

          Step 1:

          Enabling app sideloading, is easy. Simply jump into your phone’s Settings application, scroll down and select the “Security” option. Scroll down again and press “Unknown sources.” As the description states, this will allow the installation of apps from unknown sources — i.e., somewhere other than the Google Play Store.

          Step 2:

          Whether your viewing in our app, or in your Android web browser, click the link and the app will begin downloading.

          Step 3:

          In most cases, the app will be placed in a “downloads” folder, stored inside your phone. You can easily access all downloads by jumping into the Downloads application located in your app drawer (where all your other apps are). From there, simply click the application that was downloaded (apps always have and end with “.apk” in their file name.

          Step 4:

          depending on your Android device, you’ll may see a popup asking if you want to verify with Google (to ensure there’s no malware), or install regularly. Always select the first option and proceed with the installation instructions. You’ll then be greeted with the apps permissions, and the option to install. Click install and if successful,you can then either click done to go about whatever it was you were doing, or open the app directly from here. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to jump back into your settings, and turn off/uncheck the “Unknown sources” option. Sometimes malicious apps (even those downloaded from the Play Store) can use this to do all sorts of nasty stuff. And that’s all there is to it. You are now a sideloading app master.


  • markgbe

    cool, i like it.

  • Fontana53

    The “ok google” hotword doesn’t work on my Moto x. Hotword detection is checked and Language is on English (US). Any other Moto x users have the same problem?

    • I have this issue on my GNex

    • fd2blk78

      The Moto x came with this new feature. Why install over it?

  • The Dude

    Why do I see ‘no eligible devices to install’ in the device dropdown when I try to get this? Can someone link the apk for new search? I had the same problem with Hangouts. I have a GS3 running a 4.3 AOSP rom.

  • The half black nav bar looks like garbage. Outside of that, I do like it.

  • A good information and can thus be seen that we have new problems, updates and innovations.