The new and improved look and feel of the Google Pixel 2 desktop are beginning to become the standard that all fans of Android are desperately looking for. The relocation of the search bar and the new calendar widget are the main updates that you can try to replicate by installing the modified version of the official launcher, but now there’s another alternative: Thanks to the latest features of Nova Launcher and a widget that simulates the official one from Google, you can give your device the update you want by following just a few easy steps.
1 – Install Nova Launcher Beta
While it may only be a matter of days until the updates appear in the stable channel, at the moment, we have to use the beta version of the official client of Nova Launcher to access these features. You can download it from the official website. Once you’ve done that, you have to go to “Nova Settings” and make the following changes:
- Change the look of the searchbar: Desktop> Searchbar style and select the one that’s wide with rounded edges. For the logo, it’s the one with the gray G. As long as you’re looking at the desktop options, make sure that the Permanent searchbar option is not selected. In my case, I had it configured with Nougat’s pixel pill, and it caused a conflict.
- Change the location of the searchbar: to move the bar to the lower part of the screen, you have to go to Dock > Searchbar in dock. There, you can select if you want to place it above or below icons.
- Change the popup that appears when you long tap on an app. Appearance > Popup menu style and select Block (Android 8.1 Oreo).
The only thing you should keep in mind is that some of the options are not available in the free version of Nova Launcher, so if you don’t have the Pro version, or you’re not pleased with the end results, you’ll have to try your luck with a modified version of the official launcher.
2 – Install “Another Widget”
What Nova Launcher doesn’t support is the new widget that shows information about your calendar. Luckily, alternatives are already being presented that simulate this, like the one shown below. Once you’ve installed Another Widget, you have to make a few adjustments to have it “just right.” If you want the calendar events to show up you have to activate the option “See your events.” Another thing to consider is the weather information. For this, you have to create an account on OpenWeatherMap platform and copy the API key you see in the settings panel and paste it in the corresponding field you see in the widget’s settings.
Lastly, you position the widget like usual, placing it in the upper part of the screen and adjusting the maximum width to the sides of the screen.
3 – Install Live wallpapers
Although with the last two steps, your device would be just about set, you can go one step further, using the new live wallpapers. While they may have been exclusively designed for Nexus and Pixels originally, it didn’t take long for the APK to be extracted to be used on any other device.
The only thing to keep in mind with these live wallpapers is that, once installed, they won’t be found as an existing app, but instead you’ll find them in a subfolder in your wallpaper gallery (this will be different according to your version of Android or your layer of customization). You can find more information in this related post in our blog. That said, you may run into the problem that your wallpaper manager doesn’t support it and you have to install the Google Wallpaper Picker.