Jelly Bean Google Search (Velvet.apk) Working on ICS (Kind Of) [Root Only]

Here is some Android development that I am stoked on.  One of the features from the new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean that I am most excited about is the new Google voice search and Google Now.  I think a lot of people have been wondering if, and how soon, developers might be able to get these features working on older Android versions.  Well, I have some very interesting news for you.  Today, XDA member MaR-V-iN posted a working velvet.apk (which is supposedly Google Now) on a XDA thread under the Google Now topic.  What we now have is a semi-working Jelly Bean Google search.  I currently have it installed on my Epic 4G Touch, and I’m getting similar functionality to what I’ve seen others getting on the XDA thread; the text search is working, the voice search is not.  So you may be thinking, “This really isn’t that cool.  It looks different, but I getting better functionality with the Google Search I have now.”  Well yah, that is true, but just think about what this means!  It means people are hard at work to bring us (and themselves) an awesome new piece of Android Jelly Bean!

A couple of notes about the Jelly Bean Google search and how I installed it…  The new semi-transparent google search widget comes with the apk.  It is working as a shortcut to the google search.  Interestingly, when I search something, I first get a blank white screen.  Then, if I fiddle around with the screen for a bit the web search will come up, and everything seems to work as expected after that.  I’m wondering if the new “cards” are supposed to be showing up and aren’t, and that’s why I’m getting that blank white screen.  You’ve probably seen the new layout of the Google Search in Jelly Bean reviews, if not check out the screenshots below.  Anyways, to install I had to remove the original Google Search, so you do have to be rooted at this point.  In the system/app folder the original Google Search is named GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk.  All you have to do is move it to another folder, I’ve made a “deleted” folder to move old apks to.  I don’t actually delete the original Google Search because I’m likely to want it back until the Jelly Bean one is working better.  To move these files around, I typically use some type of file explorer (like Root Explorer).  Once the original Google search is removed, you can move the velvet.apk into the system/app folder, click on it to install, and then reboot.  Once rebooted, you can find the new Google Search widget in the normal manner and check out the new piece of work.

Again, it’s not completely functional, but that’s not the point of this post.  The point is, people are working on it.  The new Google search (and hopefully Google Now) looks like it’s coming to the masses.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m excited…  You can download the velvet.apk here, and check out the XDA thread here to check out other’s experiences with the app and how the development is going.  Be sure to give those involved with the development a big thanks and support them when you can.  Let us know your thoughts on the new Google Search and if you’re excited to see this development going on…

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