Google has two launchers in the play store, namely Google Now and Pixel Launcher. Among the few differences lies the search functionality. The Google Now launcher sports a search bar spanning the full width of the first home screen, whereas on Pixel launcher all you have is a simple Google button that starts a search. However, now it seems that Google is planning to remove this differentiating factor.
As reported by Android Police, the new layout brings back the search bar and removes the weather/time information (maybe those will be added sometime later). While it’s a small change, we did appreciate how it brought the breath of fresh air from the GNL and differentiated Pixel and Nexus devices from the rest.
Anyhow, nothing is certain as of now, maybe Google is trying a few things here and there. In case, you want to check whether the new design has made its way to your Pixel Launcher, you can do so by clearing App data for the launcher app. But, do keep in mind that it will flush your home screen layouts.
For those who don’t know, Pixel launcher was introduced with the launch of Google Pixel and Pixel XL on October 4, 2016, during the #MadeByGoogle event. It is the home screen experience for the Pixel and Pixel XL phones by Google. With Pixel devices awaiting a refresh in few months, Google might be trying to bring some UI changes to debut alongside the new OS i.e. Android O.
Do let us know if you can spot the changes on your smartphones, and whether or not they are for the good or the bad.