Google Now becomes Google Then as the popular Android launcher is laid to rest

Over a year ago, Google publicly announced that its official Google Now Launcher for Android would eventually be retired, and it appears that the fateful day has finally arrived — the once-popular launcher, notable for being the search giant's first public launcher released on the Google Play Store, seems to have finally been laid to rest. 

As reported by Android Central, if you attempt to install the Google Now Launcher from the Play Store, its now being listed as incompatible with nearly every recently-released Android device, with the exception of the Pixelbook (which it isn't really designed) and, curiously, the Blackberry KeyOne.

While it's since been replaced and rendered irrelevant on Google's newer Pixel devices, which use their own dedicated Pixel Launcher, the interface remained a favorite amongst users who wanted to give handsets from third-party manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and HTC that original 'stock Android' feel. 

Unlike the Google Now Launcher, Google hasn't officially made the Pixel Launcher available on third-party handsets or tablets, and it remains unclear if it intends to do so at any point in the future.

See you at the crossroads

The Now Launcher, which came as default on Google's now discontinued Nexus phones and tablets, allowed users to swipe right from the home screen to access personalized Google Now cards, a function that became somewhat antiquated with the arrival of Google Assistant. 

Users who still have the Google Now Launcher installed on their phones may continue to use the interface, however, you won't be able to download it from the Google Play Store again if it's ever deleted or you reset your device. 

While Google's celebrated Pixel Launcher remains exclusive to Pixel devices, it can be side-loaded on most recent handsets.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.