Reviewed in Essentials for newbies
Only "officially" available for Nexus devices and Google Play Editions, this is Googles new launcher that works perfectly on many other phones, since most of its functionality lies in the Google Search App (it's complicated). If you do not have a compatible app, do a search for an .apk and make sure you have Android version 4.4/kitkat.
Upgrade the launcher on your device to make Google Now one swipe away. From your primary home screen, swipe right to access Google Now cards that give you just the right information, at just the right time. Available on Nexus or Google Play edition devices with Android 4.4 (KitKat).
• Google Now on your home screen - it's easier than ever to get just the right information at just the right time.
• Just say "Ok Google" - when you're on your home screen, just say "Ok Google" to trigger voice input. Then say your search query. Or tell your phone what to do, like send a text message, get directions, or play a song (available in the US, UK, and Canada).
• Faster search - tap the search box and you can enter your query immediately.
• Easy access to your favorite Google products and services, like Gmail, YouTube, and Maps.
• Larger viewing area - the status and navigation bars are now translucent, so your wallpaper pops from every pixel, and is even visible when you expand your apps drawer (when supported by device).
• Intuitive wallpaper picker - select any image that's stored on your device, or in the cloud. Position and preview your wallpaper before you set it.