Nova Launcher is one of the best third-party launchers in the Android ecosystem because it will let you do just about everything you ever thought possible with your home screens and app drawer. One of the most sought-after features Nova Launcher has not been able to deliver to users has been the Google Now pane that the eponymous Google Now Launcher spoiled millions with during its tenure on Android. Well, Google Now Launcher is sailing into the sunset, and in its wake, Google has made some changes that have finally, finally allowed Nova Launcher to offer the Google Now pane on the left side of its screen.
... There are just a few hoops we all have to jump through for it.
When Google announced that it was removing Google Now Launcher from the market, it also announced that it was releasing an API that would allow Android phone manufacturers to utilize Google Now panes in their own launchers. This API could also work with third-party launchers, but they couldn't be published on Google Play because of the exact conditions the API and the Play Store require. We can only hope that changes going forward, but for now, that means that only launchers that are willing to go outside the Play Store can take advantage of one of the most desired launcher features.
Nova Launcher has never shied away from a challenge, and so it has released a companion app called Nova Google Companion that will let you bring that Google Now pane to your home screen. Want to try Google Now on Nova Launcher? Here's everything you need:
- An Android phone running Android 6.0 or above
- Update to the latest Nova Launcher Beta
- Install and open the Nova Google Companion app
- Turn off Infinity Scroll in Nova Settings > Desktop > Scroll
The pane was slightly wonky before I restarted Nova, but things have been smooth since. This is the first stab at Google Now for Nova Launcher and rest assured that any bugs and glitches will be worked through, but it's here, and for the most part, it works.
Will Google update its terms to allow Nova and other launchers to bring Google Now panes to its Play Store apps instead of going around Google? How quickly will this come to other launchers, or will the hoops turn off other developers from investing the time and effort? Only time will tell, but for now, Nova can check a big line off their request list.