Soon, you will not be able to download the Google Now Launcher app. According to an email sent by the company to its Google Mobile Services (GMS) partners, it will remove the Google Now Launcher app from the Google Play Store sometime in the first quarter of 2017. That means the app will be gone from the store sometime before the end of March.

See also:

Best Android launcher apps of 2017

May 19, 2017

The email, sent to Android Police, indicates that while the Google Now Launcher app will soon won’t be available to download, the company still plans to support anyone who has already installed it on their phone or tablet with updates to the Google search app. GMS partners will no longer be able to offer new devices with Google Now Launcher after March 1, 2017. Existing devices can continue to use the app, and any new Android phones or tablets launched after March 1 will not be required to replace the app with something else.

The main reason for the change is that third-party Android devices can now integrate the Google Now panel on any launcher app, so there’s no need for Google to have a separate launcher of its own.

The Google Now Launcher was officially launched in February 2014, so its removal from the Google Play Store will come about three years after its first appearance. Even without the Google Now Launcher, Google still has its own launcher of course, in the form of the Pixel Launcher that went live in October 2016 for its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

What do you think of this news? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments.

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.
  • tabguy2

    Cue all the Nexus owners going into a panic.

    • Michael Scott Cooper

      This^
      i have used nova on my nexus and GNL and i love how smooth GNL is and am severely dissappojnted by this. lolb

      • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

        Is it buttery smooth?

        • Dakoziol

          I like butter

  • Akbar Hazak

    Nova launcher > Google Now launcher

    • daftrok

      And it always will be than anything Google makes because Nova actually lets you customize it the way you want it. Want a black background in your app drawer? Done. Want your app drawer to be horizontal swipe instead of forced vertical? Done. Want your Google search bar to be black with a white border and not have rainbow text? Done.

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    • The Truth Must Be Said

      Nova launcher is a 3rd party app. it is not as safe as google’s launchers.

      • iTechie

        @disqus_hdotZoXj9F:disqus
        That’s a big lie btw.! xD

      • reggea By that logic, Aviate by Yahoo and Arrow by Microsoft are not a ‘safe’ as Google’s as well? Why? Because Google made Android? Google is way more likely to steal your browsing habits for their own ad-serving purposes.

    • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

      Almost every launcher > Google Now Launcher. Even the tiny Nano Launcher has more and better features.

  • Benjamin.B

    Maybe the Nexus owners like me will recive pixel luncher. I really hope so !

    • Wezi427

      I have a Nexus 6 & 5, I also hope that they get it. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

  • Peter Starzynski

    This sounds like they are preparing to put the pixel launcher into the play store for all devices.

    • Sandro

      I hope so.

    • Aseed

      I doubt that. I think that’s the main selling point of the Pixel series.

      • Peter Starzynski

        Well remember, people are downloading the APK. Google might realize this and just put the launcher into the play store anyway.

      • meet2x4

        First they’d have to have the ones people want in stock for the launcher to be a selling point lol.

  • Sang Ngaihte

    Doesn’t matter if GNL is removed from the Play store. Never used it. Hate that white app drawer with gigantic icons. It had always been an eyesore. Pixel launcher is better but I don’t wanna use it because of the white app drawer. I have nova. Soon nova is gonna incorporate swipe for Google now. Waiting patiently for that.

  • if Google will let my N6P have the Pixel Launcher, Google Assistant & 7.1.2 then they can slowly kill off Google Now, fine.

  • Daniel Morin

    Will it be replaced by Pixel Launcher?

  • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

    Praise the heavens! GNL is the most brain-dead launcher ever created. My only question is if the Bezel launcher is any better. Considering the crap quality of software Google creates, I bet it’s just as lame.

  • CoolRaoul

    “third-party Android devices can now integrate the Google Now panel on any launcher app”
    Really?

  • Freak_ Aniket_

    “third-party Android launchers can now integrate the Google Now panel”… Now waiting for NOVA launcher with integrated Google Now. Why anyone need something else.

    • panks103

      Always wanted Google now integrated with nova, after the integration nova would be complete

    • NateB

      maybe I’m not understanding. what does the Google launcher have other than the app drawer, Google feed, and “OK google” command? all of that is already in NOVA. I used to be such a GNL fan but to me Nova literally contains all features I used and more.

      • Freak_ Aniket_

        I miss left swipe to access Google now in Nova. if that can be implemented in it, then no one need Google now launcher. That’s the only thing Nova is missing. (actually every other launcher)

        • NateB

          yep it is, but not sure if it’s part of the paid version. with the paid version you get the gestures which let you assign swipe directions, double tap, etc to have it bring up certain apps, settings, or things like Google now. I’ve got my Nova set to bring up Google now on a double tap. there’s also a Google now button or if you’d prefer that. I set up Nova on my mother-in-law’s first smartphone to let her drag down from anywhere to get to the notification list. it’s wonderfully customizable and you can get the paid version for only $1 when on sale

          • Freak_ Aniket_

            I have paid version of Nova. I use double tap gesture for sleep.
            But, the ease to access Google now, in Google Now launcher is best.
            Well, anyway let’s see what will happen, but I know that I will only use to use Nova launcher no matter what happens.

          • NateB

            sorry, I don’t see how it differs. why can’t you set the “swipe left” (or right) action in NOVA gestures to access Google now? wouldn’t that exactly mirror Google Now?

          • Freak_ Aniket_

            I am Sorry, but I think Nova only offers swipe up or swipe down gestures. Nova doesn’t have swipe left or right gestures.
            I have set double tap gesture for Google now. Thanks for the advice. :)

          • Freak_ Aniket_
          • NateB

            I was sure that wasn’t true, but in checking you are totally right. hmmm, maybe that’s why I chose double tap when I originally set it up. good catch. sorry for leading on about it :-)

          • Freak_ Aniket_

            It’s ok :)

          • CoolRaoul

            Unfortunately this seem to be a very sensitive question (for reasons which are far beyond my understanding): even a simple post in Nova G+ community “feature requests” section suggesting adding swipe left and right gesture options leads to immediate flame wars as soon as it’s understood it could be used to launch Google app, mimicing GN.
            Strange.

  • Rob Watkins

    I use Action Launcher 3 on most of my devices and I used NOVA before that, both for the added flexibility over Google Now Launcher.

  • pcberdwin

    I’ve been enjoying the Now launcher since it came out as it gives me a more stock experience. I dislike TouchWiz with its instability and lack of updates. The Now launcher is stable and just works and I don’t need all the extra customization. I really do hope that Google puts the Pixel launcher on the Play store.

  • Michael Payton

    I honestly never liked the Now page so I just went back to Nova. I’d rather have infinite looping on my home screen than the Now page.

  • Action launcher ftw

  • Armaan Modi

    If they are planning to release Pixel Launcher, they can just update the existing GNL app. Anyways I don’t like the circular icons in the Pixel Launcher.

  • Flow

    Google now fanboys either going to brag about pixel launcher or now saying Nova is the best launcher

  • trlovejoy

    Does this mean it will stop working or that it cannot be newly downloaded?

    • Aseed

      Did you even read the topic?

  • Wowdogeson

    Nice move, this would make me switch to Nova and stop using google now cards too.

  • Wolf0491

    I use it on my axon 7. Didn’t like stock and I was used to Sony stock launcher that let you see now cards by swiping right like now launcher.

  • Does this mean it will stop working or that it cannot be newly downloaded?

    • mark

      In theory anyone who has already downloaded it can download it again – I think that even applies to new devices (I was able to install Google camera to my one plus, but I don’t think it’s generally available to all devices anymore).

  • wouter okkerse

    It dies with the nexus brand

  • Arttu Laitinen

    if you read the whole article, there’s good news there. Finally GNow can be implemented to 3rd party launchers. That’s a big one!

    • mark

      But it’s unclear how to enable that – unless it means we have to wait until launchers add this option themselves, in which case it seems premature to remove it until this has become available.

      E.g., can I add Google now to my one plus stock launcher? Or is there a third party launcher that offers this?

      • Arttu Laitinen

        yeah you’re right, this is kinda confusing situation. I was thinking more about the end result. Guess we just have to wait the launcher dev to implement it, I’m sure Nova does this quickly, and Action Launcher 3 already has it, sorta.

        If you want the features for 1+-launcher, I’m pretty sure you’d have to wait for 1+ to implement it, can’t just add the feature on top of the existing launcher.

  • shivam gupta

    Pixel Launcher may make it’s way to the Playstore then!

  • Freak_ Aniket_

    Thanks for the information.
    Excitement gone. :|