Google is Doing Away with Its Search-Based Launcher, Google Now

February 6, 2017, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Android users always had the option to switch to the less-customized skin of the operating system from Google instead of the heavily tweaked OS from manufacturers. But that might soon be changing.

Google is now said to be bringing down the Google Now launcher from the Play Store soon. According to an email sent by Google to OEM developers that was obtained by Android Police, Google will be pulling the curtains down for the search based launcher before the first quarter of this year winds up.

Interestingly, Google will keep the support for the launcher intact post the pull-down of Google Now from Play Store. It means that users who have already downloaded the launcher before it was taken down will still be able to use it, and will also be receiving updates through the Google Search app.

Google Now launcher doesn’t quite arrive with codes for the home screen, but is rather an enabler app whose codes have been included in the Google Search app.  That’s the same mode of operation for the Pixel Launcher, the better equipped launcher that’s exclusive to Pixel devices.

It will now be interesting to see what action Google will be taking to compensate for the pull-down. One possibility is that it could be taking its Pixel Launcher out of Pixel. There are only sparse chances for that to take place, as Google would like to keep Pixel Launcher off the hands of other manufacturers. But that was the case similar with Google Now.

Google’s card-integrated launcher was initially introduced exclusive to Nexus smartphones in 2014. But later on, Google expanded its reach by rolling it out as a distinct app so as to let users of other devices enjoy a simpler version of Android. It has been installed in over 50 million devices altogether.

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