I bought the Samsung Galaxy S5 when it came out a month or so ago. Ultimately it is a good phone, but so far it had not lived up to the hype. That is until this past weekend. I am going to try and keep this article as simple to understand as possible, so that way even if you aren’t tech savvy with phones, you can still get this!
Lets start with what the problems are. Samsung has their own UI (user interface) that there phones operate on, called Touch Wiz. While samsung tried giving it the boosts it needs, by
adding in a live newsfeed similar to the HTC One, I still find that it has a large amount of lag and the news feed is ultimately unnecessary. While you can go to the google play store and download a new launcher (another word for UI), they all still seem to feel somewhat incorrect and laggy. So what can we do? Well as you know, Android phones run off of, well, Android (lol), powered by google. So Google has their launcher that was designed specifically for the version of Android, Android Kit Kat. This means it was designed right off the bat to work with your new phone, and then samsung came in and said “NO! We want them to use OUR software!!” I know, very selfish of samsung. Luckily since it is Android it is extremely easy to revert back to the Google Experience Launcher (GEL), and there are many benefits that come along with it. I will show you first how to activate it, then I will show you the awesome features!
To install GEL it is incredibly simple. The only tricky part is turning off the security feature that blocks downloads of apps from places other than the Google Play Store. To do this, go to the settings of your GS5, or whatever phone you are using, and go to the section titled “Security” and open the sub-menu. In the Security settings, there should be something titled “Unknown Sources” with the description “Allow installation of apps from sources other than the play store.” Go ahead and click it so that the box is checked. It will not do anything to the phone, so you don’t have to worry about breaking anything on your new phone. Now the next steps are simple, and you can do them two ways. What you do next is download the files for GEL. You can either do it by downloading them directly from your phone, or putting them on your SD card, and accessing them once you put the card back in your phone. I recomend doing it the first way, so that you don’t have to go searching through your SD card once it is in your phone. Either way, here are the links for the downloads of the files, they are both free and safe. YOU NEED TO DOWNLOAD BOTH FILES:
As with any free file sharing site, make sure you are hitting the actual download link, not the stupid ads that try and trick you. Anyways, once they are downloaded on to your phone, just click them to open them. It might prompt you with something like “is it ok to install?” Just hit yes. Even if you end up not liking GEL you can always go back. Once all of the files are installed you are basically good to go! When you hit the home button it will prompt you if you want to use TouchWiz or Google Launcher, and whether or not you want to do it this once or always. I recomend hitting just once until you are sure you are going to like it. If you do hit always, and you end up not liking GEL, you can always change it back by going to settings and default applications. But other than that, there you have it! You now have Google Experience Launcher setup on your device! Now, Keep reading for some important tips and features that might help you get used to GEL.
Right off that bat, I found that GEL looked and acted much better than TouchWiz. The icons looked nicer, the movements across screens and opening apps looked much smoother and crisp. One of the key features is across the top of the phone. If you look at the top, you now have a continuous google search bar across the top, on all the home pages. Also, with that, you have the Google Now Voice feature active on all home screens. So instead of having to hold down the home button to open voice search, you can just say “OK Google” on any home page and it will open the voice search. Pretty cool! Another feature that I thought was pretty cool, is the google now home screen. If you scroll all the way to the left home screen, you will see that it automatically goes to google now. Google now is setup to be your personal assistant on your phone, telling you info tailored to what you like, such as sports game scores and times, news stories, and movie times. So I recommend setting up google now to get the most out of this cool feature. The only complaint I have heard so far, is the icons being to big. They are bigger, but I think that it still looks good, and they don’t take up any more room than another launcher would.
Last thing before I let you go, is I found it a little difficult to add another homescreen. It is actually very simple. Just grab either an app or a widget, and drag it over past the last home screen you have setup, and it will put it on a new screen for you. There you have it! You are all set with GEL, I hope this was helpful! If you run into any problems, let me know in the comments and I will update the post with the new info!