Sometimes Google can be a bit of a leaky ship, and its latest accidental leak relates to the Pixel Launcher. We spotted a phone being demoed at a Google I/O Sandbox with an as-yet unreleased version of the Pixel Launcher installed, and it packs some interesting new features…
The first and most obvious new feature of the app is that the usual Google Search UI looks different. It’s been relocated, and the new design ditches the more solid white look of the current “pill” and replaces it with a semi-transparent gray bar. As you can see, it now sits below the dock app icons.
The second feature is expanded search functionality. Whereas previously the Launcher would allow you to search the apps already on your phone, the new version also lets you search the Play Store to find an app you might want to install. You can also see this shown off in the video below.
The demo where we found the new launcher was actually for Android Instant Apps, so this new launcher is presumably an updated version that includes support for that feature. It just so happens that this future version has more than just support for Android Instant Apps, as you can see.
It’s unclear at this point when (or if) this version will go public, but it’s possible we could see it launch with Android O later this year or perhaps even the Pixel 2. It goes without saying that the launcher could change completely, however, and it’s also possible this version be pushed out before then. Who knows.