I just upgraded to a Nexus 5 and am setting up my launcher + icons. Right now I'm using Nova Launcher, and a like a lot of things about it, but it's lacking in Google Now integration. Two things in particular I miss:

  • Having Google Now start listening when I say, "Okay Google" without pressing a button - this still works once I'm in Google Now, but not on the Nova Launcher homescreen (as it does with the stock launcher).
  • Being able to swipe over to the left from the homescreen to get the Now screen

Are there any launchers that support these features, especially the first one?

  • Please note that recommendations like Is there an app for X are off-topic here (see What topics can I ask about here? for details). For where your question might fit better, you might want to look into Where can I ask questions that aren't Android Enthusiast questions? – Izzy Dec 12 '13 at 15:19
  • How about if I rephrase it? My problem is "I want to be able to say 'OK Google' to start google now, and use a custom launcher at the same time. Is this possible?" – keithjgrant Dec 12 '13 at 15:22
  • As of now, only Google Experience Launcher is capable of triggering Google Now while in Always Listening mode. – Android Quesito Dec 12 '13 at 15:25
  • You can't. Nova are working on it at present, but the G.E.L. is built into the Search application so it may not be possible. – RossC Dec 12 '13 at 15:27

11 Answers 11


The Google Experience Launcher is actually built into the Google Search app along with Google Now. This is why it can listen for 'Okay Google' and have Google Now accessible via the left swipe. Ars Technica has a good article which goes into more details on this.

There are some launchers that support gestures, which might be similar to the left swipe to access the Google Now page (although they will only be able to launch Google Now in the same way an upward swipe does).

I don't think there are any that support saying 'Okay Google' from the homescreen though.


As you've indicated, both features are native to the default Launcher app that shipped with the 4.4 ROM for Nexus 5, called the Google Experience Launcher (GEL)

Having Google Now start listening when I say, "Okay Google" without pressing a button

I haven't come across any third-party Launcher app that's integrated this yet, and wouldn't count on it anytime soon. Here is what Nova Launcher's dev said on this topic. You could try apps like Open Mic+, but these would continue to be active as long as your phone is awake, and almost certainly will take a hit on the already weak Nexus 5 battery life.

Being able to swipe over to the left from the homescreen to get the Now screen

This will never be part of a non-GEL app. In order to achieve this, Google essentially packaged the Launcher app into the Search (i.e. Google Now) app. See here and here on how and why they did this. It is unclear whether GEL will be released to the Play Store as a standalone app, or if it'll even be released to other Nexus/Play Edition devices.

  • I have seen talk on this site that they will do a gradual roll out of GEL... But as always that is hearsay, and my friends in Google are saying absolutely nothing! (Probably after my 'why can't I reflow the text in Chrome' rant recently!) – RossC Dec 12 '13 at 15:55
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    @RossC My bet is that they will eventually make GEL available on the Play Store to all Android devices (most likely 4.1+). – Reaper Dec 17 '13 at 3:39

KK Launcher (based on Android 4.4 KitKat launcher) have this feature:

Enable OK Google from all KK Launcher screens(require Android 4.4); Support swipe right to Google Now


I simply added the Google Now widget to the left-most page. I also set a "swipe up" on the App Drawer button to open up the Google app, which opens to Google Now.


  • That answers the second half of the question, but what about "OK Google" hotword detection? – Dan Hulme Oct 16 '14 at 9:38
  • Yes, many of the top 3rd party launchers (Nova, Apex, KK Launcher, perhaps others) do now, in fact, incorporate support for "OK Google" hotword detection. I now use Nova and I use "OK Google" all the time. KK Launcher also has "Enable Swipe to Google Now," where a swipe to the right from the 1st screen leads you to a full Google Now screen. No need to approximate it w/ a widget instead. That said, in addition to that widget, there are lots of ways to invoke the same Google Now content in any launcher, as Google has built it into the search widget as well as the standalone Google app itself. – Fofer Oct 16 '14 at 13:30

I do not think you need a specific feature in the launcher for the OK Google keyword since there is an option for it in the Google Search app. (Unsure about the path since I am using the French app but it should be something like Parameters => Voice => Keyword detection => From anywhere)


Cyanfox for Nexus 5 has the semi always listening baked right into the ROM. I put the same type of ROM on my friends Galaxy S3 and it had the Google Now screen to the left and was always listening while on the home screen. Blew my mind.


"OK Google" works in Nova Launcher. It is an option in the root of Nova settings, and works regardless of whether or not a search bar is displayed. Similar functionality can be added to Apex, Samsung TouchWiz, or HTC Sense, using an app called Active Searching. I have not found a way to display the Google Now cards page as a launcher page in any launcher other than the Google Now Launcher.


Nova has since been updated and now supports the OK, Google Hotword.


Smart Launcher 2 added support on 31 May.


Try L Launcher. It's a modified version of lollipop launcher.

  • Have you tried L Launcher? It launches google now, it doesn't integrate with it. you can't just swipe out of google now. – Ryan Conrad Feb 22 '15 at 16:31
  • Well, i said it's a modified version of google now that includes bunch of custom features. What the asker needs is google now, so this modified versiob i think is better than a custom launcher that integrates google now which is usually, doesn't integrate really well. No need to downvote yo. – Doni Wibowo Feb 22 '15 at 16:39
  • first, i am not the one that downvoted, but it is a perfect reason to downvote. It is not a solution to the question, it doesn't even link to the app you are recommending. You should read why is voting important from the help center. – Ryan Conrad Feb 22 '15 at 16:42

Theres an app called open mic+ its helps wid the ok google thing swiping left fr google now is no where present excpt GEL but i personally didnt like the interface the icon size ws looking big on my note 2 i prefer nova launcher wid open mic + .apk it works like a charm ;) plus whoever said it doesnt wrk whn screen is off ur wrong m using it and wrks wid locked screen and yes if u set it to start up on boot it strts frm boot ;)

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    I encourage some editing to this post to remove the txt-speak, please. – wbogacz Feb 15 '14 at 14:31

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