In the past, I'd mentioned that you could sideload Google Now launcher. At that time, it was for Nexus devices and not available through the Google Play Store. With it, you can swipe from the home screen and see all of your Google Now cards. Additionally, it allows you to say "Ok Google" from the home screen or when the device is plugged in and do a voice search.
Back in August, it became available for all devices running Android 4.1 or higher. So, if you didn't want to side load it, go install it from Google Play and give it a try.