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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!

  • thanks, good luck

  • nailbomb3

    Anyone get GEL working on the OG Droid Razr/Maxx? I get the same issue the DNA users have. Crashes Google Search.

    • Greystreet022

      Check the original article called nexus 5 dump or something like that. There is a .lib file you need to push to your /system/lib folder that will fix it. Just scroll down the comments until you see it.

      • Aaron

        lib file still didn’t fix it for me. I’m on an Electrify M (pretty much the same as a RAZR M) stock 4.1.2/unlocked/rooted. Any ideas?

    • Cael

      Same thing happens for my Droid 4.

      • droidrazredge

        I thought I was the only one having these issues. I’ve tried everything and still does not work.

        • nailbomb3

          Ditto on Razr Maxx. No joy

          • droidrazredge

            Yup, I made a long comment about it all the way at the top of the comments. Are you getting the same issues as I described ?

  • crazed_z06

    Working great on Note 3

  • Jaime G.

    I just noticed active notifications on Verizon moto x isn’t working. Anyone notice the same?

    • Ian Case

      Its working OK on mine.

  • crazed_z06

    Rugby Scores! FINALLY!

  • Malcolm Love

    Everything seems to work on my Droid Maxx, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually use this. I miss the options of other launchers. I’ve been using Aviate for the last couple of weeks. I can’t decide if I like it or not.

  • Jaime G.

    Is it meant for every phone? I’m running on Verizon moto x and its a bit sluggish. No half transparent nav bar either. 🙁 How do I revert?

  • Eugene Malabanan

    Have we always had this????????

    • j

      yes lol

  • CharlesJorgenson

    damn, only 4 icons across on my G2, if it werent for that id switch but at that resolution it looked like a playskool toy (iPhone). So close yet so far. Wish i could change the launcher settings.

  • Rafter

    Let see how long I have to wait before I get this Search update. I’m still waiting for the Hangouts update by the way.

  • Ron

    The launcher doesn’t work with my Droid DNA

  • zombiewolf115

    the only thing that annoys me about this launcher is the fact that a widget like play music only covers 3 spaces instead of 4 on the screen which is like ugh my ocd kicks in hardcore

    • bprichard

      Agreed. I pretty much can’t deal with that.

    • Robert Macri

      Not on my Moto X… Covers all four.

  • Knlegend1

    Google messed up now lol.

  • EmoMorales

    I still have the uncentered search bar and keyboard popup issues on nexus 7 (2012) on 4.4

  • Jared Hamilton

    Does anyone else take issue with the giant 4×4 icons? Nova allows me 6×5 which is perfect on my s4…why shouldn’t I be able to change this on any phone?!!?!?! It works great but……

    • Tim242

      I don’t understand why Google doesn’t put options in for such simple tasks. I also hate docks. I find them pointless. Nova lets me disable the dock. The icon long press options are great as well. Oh, and the gestures! One home screen is all I need. I like the Nova Experience Launcher too much to even try this Google Garbage.

  • Jason Kahn

    There is something not quite rite with this update, Wiped all my Google NOW settings, couldn’t get the list of cards back without uninstalling the update

    • Jason Kahn

      Ok so they moved it under the magic wand, but it now appears you have to wait for something to happen in order to toggle the card on or off

  • Pat Leck

    The update does seem to be a nice addition.


  • enigmaco

    Won’t let me install the new search feature on my phone. I get to the install or cancel part, and I keep tapping install and it does not work. But the cancel button works with no problems, trying to install it on my stock moto x.

    • Ian Case

      Mine kind of did this. I had to touch the button a little off center and down. Then it worked fine.

  • works perfectly both the Google Launcher & the updated search both of which I side loaded using the links in the article. Work like a charm on my Verizon S4 running 4.3 EMJ7 build.

  • EmoMorales

    Are people still experiencing un-centered search bar and the keyboard popping up after app use issue?

  • Samvelavich

    I get an issue saying: PLACEHOLDER TEXT Google Search not found

  • uzo ufondu

    Where can I get that wallpaper? The one with the people sky and mountain?

    • Just_Some_Nobody

      From Google. It came with the Nexus 5. If you are able to get to a Google command prompt, simply type something like “Nexus 5 wallpapers”.

  • Guest

    People still have the uncentered search bar and keyboard pop up after closing an app issue?

    • Steve B

      No, everything is fixed now.

      • Carlton Crasher

        Actually it just happened on my nexus 7 2013 lol but not on the nexus 5 or gs3

        • Steve B

          You’re holding it wrong.

  • Rob Fetterhoff

    All updated now on my Galaxy S3… thanks!!!

  • Troy Haskett

    So I reinstalled the GEL on my N4, but every time I try to move an app over to make a second screen, it doesn’t let me. Nothing seems to work. Any ideas?

  • AbbyZFresh

    Poor ICS users.

    • Tim242

      Nah. They aren’t missing anything. Nova is much better.

  • Tyler Casilio

    Downloaded just the Search update on the DNA and works fine for me. The Top part of Google Now still says GOOGLE and the bar below it though, doesn’t look like the pic above. Maybe because they want a uniform look between the Search Bar and Now when you swipe to the right on the Nexus 5. That makes sense actually

  • anezarati

    is anyone have trouble with the “ok google” command? it doesnt work on my N4, but it was working when i had the previous leak when 4.4 first came out. is there something i have to activate?

  • AlpaXray

    Quick question: If I use nova and don’t want the GEL business, but I get the update for google search will I get the always listening from the home screen option. Or do I have to enable GEL for that.

    • imnotmikal

      You have to enable GEL for that. GEL /is/ search, that’s the only way it works.

  • Brian Wolfman

    Works but then you get the microphone that has a white center (not full gray) so its no longer “listening.”

  • skater57

    Still force closes when I select the launcher on Motorola Droid RAZR HD running 4.1.2

    • Santos91

      Same here!!! Glad to know I am not the only one with a RAZR HD.

  • Sean

    Ok Google, just because I still have the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t mean I don’t still want your updates…

    • Elliot Kotis

      Just because it has been 2 years since I got my GNex doesn’t mean my 24 month plan is over! Come on mate.

  • Walter Partlo

    Its a shame that GEL looks like crap in the Moto X.

    • Geoffrey Gunter

      How does it look like crap?

      • Walter Partlo

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

        • TheDrunkenClam

          Half black nav bar???? Can you please take a screen shot and post it?? I have been considering the moto x

          • Walter Partlo

            My problem was based on mods that I was using not playing well with GEL. Get the X, you will not be disappointed.

    • imnotmikal

      Looks and functions perfectly well on my Moto X.

      • TheDrunkenClam

        Screen shot please. ?? I am considering this phone and want to see how gel looks on it

    • Scott Kart

      The icons are huge.

      • Adrynalyne

        By design.

      • I’m pretty sure they’re going by the “9mm rule”.. honestly I could have it at about 5mm and I could hit the right icon. They really need to have launcher settings.. icon size being one of them.
        My apps could be condensed down to 2 pages if the icons and margins weren’t so dang big.

    • Albert

      How did you fix it? I’m getting full black on both, but I’m still on 4.2.2, is that the issue?

      • Walter Partlo

        I am rooted on 4.2.2. My issue was it not playing well with moto xposed.

    • Robert Macri

      How did you get transparent navbar? Mine is all black.

      • Walter Partlo

        Xposed framework with gravitybox, but the navbar seems to switch often between transparent and black. The MotoXposed module allows you to change the nav bar background to transparent, but leaves a little black bar at the bottom that looks like crap with GEL. MotoXposed works flawlessly on Nova though, which is what I am running because I like themed icons better than swiping left into google now.

  • 204Guy

    I still haven’t got the Hangouts sms update…

    • Jason Kahn

      i gave up and sideloaded

      • 204Guy

        Yeah I ended up doing that too. For some reason updates are really slow to my S4…

      • Elliot Kotis

        I gave up and got my Nexus 5.

    • Bob G

      Ditto. I figure by the time I receive that update, I’ll be waiting for 4.4, and then… this new Search update, and then…. I just learn to live with it.

    • uzo ufondu

      Yeah, me neither. I don’t know why

    • Chippah

      the New hangouts is retarded, the UI is unintuitive.
      For instance, there should be a little toggle button to turn SMS on and off .
      but theres not.

      Still no play store update on the Note 3 either, had to manually update.

      • JRomeo

        When you are texting someone, next to their name you can click and switch back and forth between SMS message, and Hangout message… so you always have access to one or the other…. of course this assumes you have their gmail address in your contacts in their profile.

    • terrorist96

      You’re not alone.. I still haven’t gotten the Hangouts update.

  • rthvk

    Not using the Nexus 5, Tim?! :O

  • Marcel Jeannin II

    I downloaded both apk and still have black lines to and bottom. I guess my nexus 4 still needs kit Kat.

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      I have seen it working on other Nexus 4’s so not sure why you are having issues. Google Play services needs to be on the latest version as well.

      • rthvk

        And you have to have KitKat or some OS tweaks. I believe the minimum API level for transparency support without mods is 19 (KitKat).

  • tharealoc

    I found that the update killed tasker from seeing when the google search app is open.

    I have a profile to shorten my display timeout when the phone is laying down and the search app is open, so when I use touchless controls the screen turns off faster, since update, no go

  • Arcendus

    Too bad the function doesn’t work outside the Google Launcher, BUT I really can’t complain, I was looking forward to this feature, big time.

  • Josh

    Does anyone know why Google now won’t output speech? I haven’t changed any settings, but it doesn’t ever talk back to me. On a stock nexus 5

    • Ray Gray

      If your phone is on vibrate or mute it won’t which is dumb it should follow media volume vs. System volume

  • billy routh

    How do you get updates about websites?

    • michael arazan

      I have found that my google alerts I have set up show up in my Google Now cards when ever there is an update to anything I have in my alerts that is new. Not sure if that is how it works or not.

  • rthvk

    Should point out that the GEL is still not in the Play Store as a downloadable APK.

    C’mon Google; you can do it!

  • tharealoc

    does this mean the nova dev may be able to work the google now swipe into his launcher?!

    • Ryan B

      I hope so, I just can’t use stock Google launcher after using Nova. I want my custom drawer and custom icons.

      • Ryan Powell

        Just tried out the new launcher and thought the exact same thing. Really hoping we get it soon in Nova.

      • Dominick White

        same issue here, hopefully Nova gets it soon

      • Tim242

        And gestures!

    • MetroGnome711

      Not to mention Nova seems way more fluid that this launcher. Animations stutter (HTC ONE), and just don’t seem as polished as Nova, which has been flawless for me.

  • Garrett Ostrom

    I have a stock Droid DNA 4.1.1. Installed the search update, then the GEL apk, and it says “unfortunately, google search has stopped” when I try to tap the launcher to open it. Don’t know what’s going on. Cleared the data in the search app and that didn’t help. Anyone know anything?

    • Kyle Coppess

      Same problem with me and my Razr Maxx HD 🙁

      • Garrett Ostrom

        This blows.

    • charlie hustle

      Having the same issue

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      You also need to have Google Play Services updated to at least 4.0.30 although I would imagine most phones have seen the update already.

      • Garrett Ostrom

        I have Google Play Services updated to 4.0.33, and have changed the language to “English (UK)” already and that didn’t fix it. For some reason, the DNA got the shaft…

    • Lucas Rains

      Change your Google Search language to “English (UK)”. That’s what I did and the issue went away.

    • hldc1

      Changing the language doesn’t resolve the problem on the Droid DNA.

  • ĴⒶ₡Ҝ

    It actually asks and then listens for confirmation before sending a text now! This is awesome!

    Edit: Still no punctuation though, which is kind of ridiculous.

    • Arcendus

      You have Tom Hanks’ number???

      • tharealoc

        should be part of the new dialer, just start typing tom hanks, and it will use google to get the number for you. He must have already called him once and the dialer automatically added him to his contacts.

        • FrancoMacagno

          haha I hope you know you are joking

          • tharealoc

            Of course i do, I thought it was quite witty. =)

          • annalisedyy264

            мʏ вɛѕт ғʀιɛɴɖ’ѕ мօтнɛʀ мαĸɛѕ $66 нօυʀʟʏ օɴ тнɛ ƈօмքυтɛʀ. ѕнɛ нαѕ вɛɛɴ υɴɛмքʟօʏɛɖ ғօʀ 10 мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн нɛʀ քαʏ աαѕ $16777 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тнɛ ƈօмքυтɛʀ ғօʀ α ғɛա нօυʀѕ. ʀɛƈօммɛɴɖɛɖ ѕιтɛ fox200&#46com

    • sk102704

      It should do it on its own but you can add punctuation by saying period/question mark/exclamation point etc.
      So did Tom reply?

      • S P A M .com


        • sk102704

          you are wrong idiot!
          See I just used it to do it right there dumbass.

          • I don’t think it carries over from the text command in Google Now.
            I’ve never had success. I can punctuate in the text app and other areas but alas from my homescreen.

    • Chippah

      If Tom hanks sold hot dogs on the side of the road he would be

      • Stnkycheezman

        If Tom Hanks jumped out and said “BOO!”, he’d be Tom Pranks

        • Chippah

          If Tom Hanks forgot to wipe his ass he’d be Tom STANKS

          • Dutch

            If Tom Hanks finished a bottle of scotch, he’d be Tom DRANKS

      • Geekdad

        If he goes to prison and joins a gang, he’d be Tom SHANKS.

        • Phil Smucker

          I love lamp!

        • Phil Smucker

          Come on everybody, let’s go streak the quad with tom hank the tank!

    • Chippah

      If Tom hanks was seen in an adult movie theater he would be TOM WANKS.

      • Tim

        If he was in the adult movie theater alone, he would be TOM SPANKS.

    • Chippah

      If Tom Hanks gave you 10,000 dollars youd be like Tom Thanks!

      • tss then he’d be like take that to the Tom Banks or somethin’, I dunno.

    • John Huie

      i have always had a problem with punctuation. Whenever I speak to Google Now, it’ll show the commas, exclamation points, etc., when it sends the audio to the servers, but when it transfers it to a text, no punctuation shows up!

    • Blue Sun

      You can use puncuation. It works & had worked almost a year if not longer. Try saying the following: “Text Tom Hanks Good day sir period”

      • Dale Burke

        Children, please can we stay on the subject at hand here instead of acting like 1st graders? I would really like to get this to work without forking out for an overpriced phone………………( come I know somebody is gonna take a shot ).

    • Citizenofhawaii

      I saw that too.

      I think you can say the name of the punctuation you want to use (ie. “period”, “question mark”, “exclamation point”…)

  • fartbubbler

    how will the GEL “always listening” feature interact with Touchless Control, I wonder?

    • Justin W

      If you have a Moto X, you should test it out…

      Also, IIRC, the Moto X’s command is “OK, Google Now”, whereas the always listening feature is “OK, Google”, so it shouldn’t affect Moto X’s touchless control. In addition, Touchless Control should can be used while the screen is off, whereas this “always listening” feature only works when the screen is on and you are on the home screen or in Google Now.

      • Ryan B

        I have a Moto X and there is no issue. When I say “Okay google now” when the screen is off, touchless controll works. When the phone is on, “Okay google” works there.

        • Jeff Skilling

          See, what I’m wondering is whether or not the launcher takes advantage of the same low-power natural language processor that Touchless Control does for hotword detection. Otherwise won’t the GEL have a negative effect on battery life?

  • Ray Gray

    And we were all saying hey where is the launcher… Google never fails us

    • Adrynalyne

      The launcher still isn’t official. You have to pull it from the Nexus 5.

  • AbbyZFresh

    Only in the US.

  • ReturnOfTheMack

    “…a gang of new features”

    Nice Tim 🙂

  • Ryan B

    I love how hard this effs over Samsung and HTC and all of the ugly launchers. This is now mainstream over the play store! Every phone with 4.1 and up!!!!!!

    • Justin W

      It doesn’t quite “eff over Samsung and HTC and all of the ugly launchers” though. You still can’t get the Launcher APK through the Play Store, but I’m sure it will be coming within the next few months or so.

    • Brandyn

      How does it “eff over Samsung and HTC and all of the ugly launchers”? You do realize Android lets you choose whatever launcher you want to use.

      • Ryan B

        Yes but if your my grandma, you have never heard of a launcher or know there is an option. This now makes launchers mainstream.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    I definitely see some differences since I got the Nexus 5… Like before I sold my HTC ONe I could just set to “All NBA Teams” or something like that and it would just give me updates whenever there was a game…now it only does it for my own team…. Am I crazy?