R.I.P Google Now! You will be missed
Since 2014, Google has offered an option to install Google Now launcher to any Android device. Initially designed for Google Nexus line of devices, it has been popular for being fast and trusted to cover up the ugly Android skin and change the look and feel of a phone completely. However, it looks like things are about to change. Google is planning to remove its Google Now launcher from the Play Store.
According to Android Police, emails were sent to partners using Google Mobile Services (GMS) saying that Google will reportedly remove Google Now launcher from Play Store as well as the GMS package in Q1 of 2017. Also, starting from March 1st, the company will stop approving any new device trying to ship with the Now launcher. However, Google Now’s feature will be supported in some form via the company’s own search app.
As the Google Now launcher is being killed, there’s a possibility that Google could expand its new Pixel launcher, which is currently exclusive only on Google Pixel and Pixel XL. As of now, users can turn to other third party solutions such as Nova launcher or Action launcher to re-skin their Android devices. Google hasn’t yet publicly announced its decision about the Google Now launcher.