The latest update for the Google Play Newsstand app added support for app launcher shortcuts and introduced some performance improvements to the popular news aggregator. The update version 4.2 started rolling out on the Google Play Store yesterday and should already be available for download worldwide.
Regarding new additions to the Google Play Newsstand app, Google's news reader now supports four shortcuts in total – Library Digest, Magazines, For You, and Read Later. The newly included shortcuts correspond with the sections that the Mountain View-based tech giant added to Google Play Newsstand with the 4.0 update, so frequent users of the company's content aggregator won't have to do a lot of experimenting to figure out what the shortcuts actually do. Simply speaking, the new app launcher shortcuts basically allow users to use shortcuts of individual feeds that were already accessible from the bottom navigation bar of the Google Play Newsstand app. The only exception to this is the Explore section that was now replaced with a feed called Magazines. As expected, the shortcuts can be dragged from Google's overlay list and placed on your home screen as individual icons. First screenshots of this newly added feature can be seen in the gallery below.
Unfortunately, it seems that the new addition to Google Play Newsstand is exclusive to devices running Android 7.1 Nougat and newer versions of Google's ubiquitous operating system. As noted by Android Police, the shortcuts aren't delivered to the app via an XML file but programmatically, meaning no third-party Android launchers will be able to access the shortcuts if they're installed on a device that's running an older version of Android than 7.1. So, if you happen to have a device running one of the latest iterations of Android, you can take advantage of the new features by downloading and installing the new build of Google Play Newsstand from the Google Play Store. You can access the app's Google Play page by following the link below. The addition of app launcher shortcuts marks the third relatively significant update for Google Play Newsstand in less than half a year and the Alphabet-owned company will likely introduce more useful features to its app in the near future.