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Google Now Launcher released for Nexus and Play Edition devices running Android 4.4

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Google Now Launcher released for Nexus and Play Edition devices running Android 4.4
Google has quietly released the Google Now Launcher, seen originally on the Google Nexus 5, as a standalone app available via the Play Store. However, the new launcher is not a universal release and is currently compatible only with the Nexus and Google Play Edition (GPE) devices running Android 4.4 KitKat. Unfortunately, there is no word from Google when, and indeed if, the Google Now Launcher will be available to other Android devices.

The app, which had made an appearance recently, was originally seen on the Google Nexus 5 smartphone last year.

(Also see: Google Nexus 5 Review)

Notably, Google Now Launcher brings "OK Google" feature to Nexus and GPE devices that allows users to just say the command (Ok Google) when in the home screen to launch the Google Now assistant and do a voice search, send a text, get directions or even play a song. With this launcher, Google Now can be launched by simply swiping to the left instead of swiping from the bottom. It's worth pointing out that the voice-activated always-on search assistant was first seen in the Moto X.

(Also see: Android 4.4 KitKat: Top 10 new features)

The Google Now Launcher also brings faster search that can be accessed by just tapping the search box and entering the query.

In addition, Google also rolled out new photo features in the Google+ app for Android. Some of the new additions added include non-destructive photo editing across devices, which allows users to backup a full-resolution image from desktop and edit it on a mobile or tablet; new filters and creative tools, such as 1-touch filters; Snapseed-inspired enhancements like Drama, Retrolux, and HDR Scape.

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