With the update to Android 8.1, the Pixel and Pixel XL gained a lot of the Pixel 2’s new experience. The update, for the most part, included everything that had been tweaked about the Pixel 2’s software, without the full Pixel Launcher goodness. That has now changed, likely thanks to a Google App update or a behind-the-scenes server-side flip.
Either way, the new tweaks that are arriving on the original Pixel and XL are somewhat minor, but do add some polish. For one, the Google Search bubble that hangs in the dock now sticks with the launcher as you swipe up and into your app drawer. Previously in 8.1, that didn’t happen and you instead had an area that just said, “Search apps.” You can see the change in the image at the top of this post.
Additionally, as you go to search from within the app drawer, you won’t just see apps as results. Instead, you’ll get search history from Google Searches, as well as app suggestions.
And I believe that’s pretty much it. As long as you are running 8.1 on your Pixel or Pixel XL, you should start seeing these changes today. You can update to Android 8.1 right here.