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Google is killing off another good product, but it was about time
- Google will finally kill the Google Now Launcher this month, according to some code sleuthing.
- The news comes several years after Google pulled the launcher from the Play Store.
- Google also switched from this launcher to the Pixel Launcher in 2016.
Google hasn’t always used the Pixel Launcher as the home screen experience for its phones. The company previously used the Google Now Launcher for its Nexus line of phones in the early 2010s, also making this software available to phones from other brands.
Now, 9to5Google has dug into the latest Google beta app (version 14.14), discovering that the launcher will stop working in April. Check out the relevant screenshot obtained from the app below.
Currently using the Google Now Launcher? Then Google says you’ll need to change to a different launcher. Otherwise, your phone will simply switch to its default launcher if you fail to switch from the Google Now Launcher in time.
This isn’t a major surprise though, as Google previously pulled the launcher from the Play Store back in 2018 and declared it incompatible with almost every Android device. The app also hasn’t been updated to support more recent versions of Android. So very few Android phones actually support the launcher. In fact, I tried sideloading the app on devices as old as the OnePlus 6 (still running Android 10) and it doesn’t show up as an option when trying to change launchers in the settings menu.
Is it the right move to kill off the Google Now Launcher?
The Google Now Launcher nevertheless stood out at the time thanks to its dedicated home screen for showing off Google Now info cards. This concept would later evolve into the Google Discover screen on many current Android phones. The launcher also offered features like app suggestions and quick access to search functionality.
Nevertheless, the arrival of the Pixel Launcher, the rise of Google Assistant in lieu of Google Now, and a bevy of other launcher options all mean the old launcher isn’t really relevant anymore. But it was still a good run for Google Now Launcher. In any event, you can check out our rundown of the best launchers for Android if you’re curious about the modern landscape.