New Pixel Launcher brings back the Google search bar

Some Google Pixel users have noticed a new Pixel Launcher appearing on their handsets which sees the shrunken Google search bar widget restored to its former full-width glory.

The diminutive pill-shaped Google search widget was one of the most dramatic changes to the home screen when both the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL launched last year, replacing the long rectangular search bar that stretched across most of the screen’s width.

According to Android Police, some users noticed the new Pixel Launcher hitting their handsets earlier this week. As well as re-introducing the traditional Google search bar, the new launcher has also dropped the weather widget – presumably because there was no longer space for it with the re-jigged layout.

Google Pixel Launcher The old Pixel Launcher vs. the updated version on some users’ phones
While the longer Google search bar harks back to old-school Android design, it’s not entirely the same – it now has slightly rounded edges.

According to Android Police, Pixel users who haven’t automatically received the new launcher can download it by clearing the data in the launcher app.

At the moment, it’s unclear why only certain users have received it; it’s likely that Google is still testing the launcher and will roll it out to all handsets eventually.

Related: Google Pixel Review

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Which version of the Google search widget do you prefer? Let us know in the comments bellow.