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Android KitKat features hit Jelly Bean in Google update

Android KitKat features are taking a break from the Google Nexus 5 and coming to Jelly Bean phones in the Google Search 3.1.8 update.

Android KitKat features are taking a break from the Google Nexus 5 and coming to Jelly Bean phones. Google is updating older phones with Search version 3.1.8 to give you a taste of KitKat.

In KitKat, Google Now is integrated into the home screens so the latest information is right at your fingertips. Although this Google Experience Launcher isn't officially ready for Jelly Bean yet, you can download the APK and start enjoying this KitKat feature on your Jelly Bean phone.

Revealed in an official post on Google+, Google Now gains new cards including film and TV recommendations from What to Watch, the latest posts from your favourite sites with Website update, and new articles on specific subjects with News Topic.

Also included is real-time traffic data from Waze, repeat reminders, rugby scores, and notifications when stuff you've ordered is available to collect from shops.

The new features are part of the Google Search for Android app, which you can download now from Google Play.

Android 4.4 KitKat made its debut on the Nexus 5 and has begun updating the Nexus 7 and 10 tablets. The update will spread out to existing phones as manufacturers and phone networks get their heads round the new software, ensuring it works on their phones: HTC says the HTC One will be updated to Android 4.4 in January, with the Google Edition updating before the end of this month. Samsung has said it will announce updates for the Galaxy range "in due course".

As for the rest of the Android world, KitKat is designed with low-powered devices in mind, capable of running on as little as 512MB RAM. Fingers crossed that means KitKat spreads faster and further than previous updates -- Jelly Bean is still only just on half of Android devices, for example.

What do you think of KitKat's new features? Have a break in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Now playing: Watch this: Android 4.4 KitKat hands-on