Google finally launched the Google Now Launcher in Google Play. Its the same launcher app that came with the Nexus 5. It was a merging of the standard home screen with the Google Search app. This allowed for things like always-on “OK Google” hotword detection (while on the home screen) and easy access to Google Now.
The new launcher is an official way to get a close-to-stock launcher on any device, and it pushes users toward performing more Google searches. Unfortunately, it only works with Google Experience Devices running Android 4.4 KitKat at the moment. Hopefully, Google will make it available to everyone.
For non-Nexus device owners who want to try the new launcher, you can sideload the app. A quick Google search will help you find a download link and a tutorial on how to do this. I managed to install it on my Xperia running Android 4.3, and its fine so far. Its quick, smooth and responsive. I don’t know yet how this affects my battery life (seeing as it’s “always listening” for the hotword).
It doesn’t work on all phones though. Let us know your experience if you manage to install it.
Source Ars Technica