The team behind Nova Launcher, the popular third-party launcher for Android, has confirmed that from today it will offer integration with Google Now. Up until now, this had not been possible due to technical constraints that Google had put in place but from tomorrow, any device running Android Marshmallow or higher will gain Google Now functionality without having to be rooted. Nova Launcher became popular in part due to its clean, uncluttered visuals and the way it can be extensively customized, and the inclusion of Google Now support only adds to its capabilities.
When it was announced that Google Now Launcher was being removed from the Google Play Store, an API was released around the same time that would allow manufacturers of Android devices to include Google Now panes in their launchers. The same API also works with third-party launchers but it isn’t possible to publish them on the Google Play Store. Now, TeslaCoil Software, the team responsible for Nova Launcher, has revealed an updated beta build of its creation, along with a secondary companion app. When both are installed together on a device, the Google Now pane will be accessible on the home screen.
Before this, any launcher that needed access to the Google Now pane was required to be installed on a system level. Now, recent changes of the manner in which Google checks apps have removed this requirement. Instead, the app integrated with the Google Now pane simply needs to be debuggable. However, debuggable apps can’t be published on the Google Play Store due to the fact that they aren’t as secure as other apps, hence the need for a second app called the Nova Google Companion whose APK needs to be sideloaded to your device. The beta launcher itself can still be downloaded from the Google Play Store, just like before; all you need to do is enroll in the app's beta program. When both have been installed, simply swipe left from your home screen to access the Google Now pane. This new feature is open to all Nova users, regardless of whether they're using a free or premium variant of the app.