The Google Now Launcher has been a staple of the Google Play Store for years now, but it’s time is finally coming to an end. According to Android Police, Google has begun telling GMS partners that it’s planning to remove the launcher in the “coming weeks,” which means the search giant will likely put its focus primarily on the newer Pixel Launcher.
The Google Now Launcher was introduced as a way for Android users to get a fast, clean home screen experience. The best part was it was available on all devices running Android 4.1 or higher, giving users access to Google Now and “Ok Google” voice search functionality. Basically, it allowed users to experience Android the way Google intended.
However, with the introduction of the Pixel Launcher, Google apparently only has room for one.
The good news is that going forward, Google will make it super easy for OEMs to integrate the Google Now panel (those cards that provide users with information) into their launcher. Last year, Sony used the Search Launcher Services library to integrate Google Now into its Android skin, and now other manufacturers can do this, too.
Google will still support existing users
Google says it will continue to support existing users of the Google Now Launcher, but anyone who wishes to install the launcher from Google Play won’t be able to do so once it’s unpublished.
Most of the information included in the email provided to Android Police is developer jargon. But it hints Google’s Pixel Launcher will be the company’s main focus going forward.
As Android Police helpfully points out, Motorola has shipped its devices with the Google Now Launcher out of the box, so it’s unclear what the company’s future phones will launch with. Does this mean Google has plans on opening up the Pixel Launcher to other phones?
Google says the Google Now Launcher will be taken down by the end of Q1 2017, which means you don’t have much longer to download it to your device.