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.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.