Google added a bevy of nifty software features to stock Android with the Pixel 2 launch. However, as of now, these new additions are exclusive to the company’s own range of phones. Fortunately, this is Android we are talking about where nothing remains exclusive for too long. At least, unofficially. Therefore, you can already try out four of these following Pixel 2 features on any of your Android phones. Here’s how.
The Bottom Search Bar
The search bar has been moved to the bottom of the home screen on the Pixel 2. Why? Because Google thinks it’s a more comfortable and pragmatic position especially if you invest in the larger XL variant. For replicating this on your phone, you have three options – Action Launcher, Google’s own Pixel Launcher, and Nova Launcher.
The Pixel Launcher is, of course, the most straightforward way to implement this as it comes with both the bottom search bar and new calendar widget by default. You can grab the latest APK file from here. However, if you want a little more customization and want to clone the appearance on third-party launchers, here’s how you can.
Action Launcher has been updated to natively support this new functionality but it comes with a price tag you probably won’t like. Who pays for digital content on Android anyway (*scoffs*)?
Nova Launcher, on the contrary, allows you to achieve this for free. Once you download and install the app, you’ll have an option to choose the Pixel launcher layout during the setup process. Select it and most of your job is done. For moving the search bar to the bottom, head into the settings by long-pressing an empty space on the home screen.
Go into “Desktop”, disable “Persistent Search Bar” and click “Search Bar Style”. There, choose the first “Bar Style” option, fourth “Logo Style” theme and lastly, tune transparency to 10% under “Bar Color”. After completing this process, turn off the Dock from its respective settings page. Now, return to “Desktop”, then “Width Padding” and select “Medium”.
Finally, head over to the home screen, hold down the search bar and move it to the bottom below the rest of the apps. That’s it, you are done.
The Calendar Widget
This one’s a lot easier to recreate. You merely need to install this little free app called “Another Widget” and add its widget to the home screen. It comes with all the Pixel 2 settings by default. In case, you would like to edit the appearance, you can fire up the app and do so.
Always-on Music Recognition
One of the more intuitive new features on the Pixel 2 is something called “Now Playing”. The phone essentially listens for music all the time and displays the song’s title and artist information whenever it recognizes one. For this, you’ll to install ‘Shazam’. Yes, the music discovery app that probably exists on your phone already.
Launch the app, scroll to the left and hit the settings icon. Turn on “Auto Shazam” and grant the audio permission. That’s about it. Like the Pixel 2, however, you won’t see a notification on the lock screen itself. Instead, the app will add a persistent notification that will notify you every time it has detected a song. You can then tap it and learn more about the track. Since Shazam is now perpetually running and listening in the background, you’ll notice minor battery drains. In my case, the app consumed just over 5%.
You can also try out the glorious new dynamic wallpapers Google has bundled on the Pixel 2. For adding them on your phone (6.0+), go ahead and install this APK and set the wallpaper like you would normally. The file includes more than thirty dynamic wallpapers, hence the size is quite large. Nevertheless, it’s certainly worth the download, especially for the aerial views.
That is all for this article, let us know in the comments section if you are stuck at some step.