Review of Google Now Launcher

If you are a fan of Google, Google Now Launcher is something you might want to try on your Android phone.

There are literally hundreds of launchers available in Google Play right now. Each one offers something a bit different or has some special feature or effect you may like.

The launcher created by Google itself is certainly something you may want to test on your phone. Google Now Launcher will bring, after all, “pure” Google experience which is what most Android users want to have as much of as possible.

Let’s delve a bit deeper into what Google Now Launcher is, how it works and whether or not you should have it on your Android phone. Let’s start!

Review of Google Now Launcher Part I: what it really is

Google Now Launcher is simply one of the many launcher apps available for Android. Just type “launcher” in Google Play and you will see how many different results you will get.

A launcher app is responsible for the looks of the home panel (where you usually see the clock, weather information and app shortcuts), other panels (the ones you get to if you swipe left or right) and the app grid (how it looks and how apps are grouped in it).

Except for Nexus phones which have the “stock” Vanilla Android launcher, almost every Android manufacturer has their own launcher. In the case of Samsung phones, for example, this launcher is called TouchWiz and in HTC phones it’s HTC Sense.

By changing the default launcher app of your phone, you can totally transform your Android experience.

Google Now Launcher is simply the proposition from Google for those who want to have the stock Android launcher on their phone and have much better access to the integrated Google services (especially the famous Google Now which is the “core” feature of the Google Now Launcher).

Review of Google Now Launcher Part II: minimalism

The first thing that came into my mind after installing Google Now Launcher was that this app is indeed for minimalists. The launcher is extremely simple and has only the most basic and useful features and settings.

There are absolutely no bells and whistles we know from other launchers like Nova Launcher where you can adjust every tiny detail (like the transition effect when scrolling the app grid and so on).

Below is basically everything that Google Now Launcher is about.

Google Now

Google Now Launcher, as the name suggests, acts mainly as your door to Google Now. All you need to do to activate Google Now is swipe right on the home screen and you will be viewing Now Cards displaying the most relevant information for you.

Of course, you can also activate Google Now by simply saying “Ok, Google” and giving your phone further instructions.

Simple Home Screen

The home screen on which you can put app shortcuts, group apps in folders or add installed widgets.

Even simpler app grid

A very minimalist app grid which groups apps according to its “secret” algorithm. No one really entirely knows how apps are grouped in the app grid in the Google Now Launcher.

I discovered that one of the factors is the frequency of use of a given app. The more often you use some app, the higher in the grid it will be.

Here you will learn more about what Google Now in case you don’t know this service.

Basic Setttings

I really like this minimalist nature of the Google Now Launcher because I don’t need to have tons of features and customizations I don’t even understand.

Here it’s extremely simple. If I tap and hold somewhere on the home-screen (on the blank space, of course), I will see three basic options.

  • WALLPAPERS which simply let you change the wallpaper.
  • WIDGETS where you can add installed widgets directly to your panels.
  • SETTINGS where you will find only the most basic settings like accounts, search language, voice or Now cards.

Review of Google Now Launcher Part III: a few disadvantages

When I discovered and installed Google Now Launcher for the first time some time ago I was sure I had finally found the perfect launcher for me.

Even though I am a minimalist and I really like the simplicity of this launcher, I prefer TouchWiz (in my Samsung Galaxy S7) which in its newest version is really great.

Here are a few disadvantages of the Google Now Launcher. Of course, this is my personal opinion and these things may not be a problem for you at all and you will love using this launcher.

Battery drain

Unfortunately, it’s really hard not to notice the battery drain if you use this launcher. Some time ago I even did a small test with Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and found that Google Now Launcher drains battery a lot in comparison to the default launcher.

Inflexible app grid

I like to have the apps I use ordered or grouped in folders so that I can access them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I don’t have much control over how apps are placed in the app grid and all I can do to find the app is either scroll until I find it or use a search bar.

Few settings

I don’t like it when there are tons of settings and customizations in the app but in this case the app makers got rid of a bit too many features and settings.

The one I am missing the most is the adjustment of the size of icons on panels so that I can put more of them on one panel and have all my apps “ready” and within one tap.

Review of Google Now Launcher: Final Words

Even though I found some disadvantages of Google Now Launcher, I still like this app a lot and can recommend it to anyone.

After all, it’s a Google app, so it’s good and it works good. If you like simple things and get lost when there are too many options, you will probably love Google Now Launcher.

Feel free to share your thoughts and leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

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