The update is pushed to devices irrelevant of whether auto-update is checked as with any Google Play store update, mostly you just don't notice until something big changes.
The US has had the update for a few weeks now but neither my N4 or N7 have updated here in the UK so I have installed the apk on my N4 but waiting to see how long it will takes on my N7.
The UI is card based just like Google Now, seems to be the way Google is heading with it's applications atm.
Dropbox link if anybody wants to install manually, usually apk installation rules apply...http://db.tt/tOv4p4vA
Sent from my Paranoid Nexus 4