Google is reportedly planning to discontinue Google Now Launcher by Q1 2017. The report is coming from Android Police citing a leaked email shared on of the tipsters. The alleged leaked email was sent by Google to GMS partners (OEMs) alerting them not to use the Google Now Launcher in future smartphones.
In the email, Google has mentioned that Google Search Launcher Services (GSLS) library is now available for production usage. This new library was under testing for quite some time since last year. It will allow OEMs to implement the signature swipe right gesture to Google Now cards on their custom launchers without relying on Google Now Launcher.
While Google has hinted at Q1 2017 as the possible time frame for the discontinuation of the Google Now Launcher, it can also happen as soon as March 1st. The email further mentions that existing users of the launcher will be able to continue using the same as updates will be provided via Google app. But it will not be available for download via Play Store so that no new users can download it.
It should be noted that Google also has another launcher named Pixel Launcher which is exclusive to Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. While it is unknown at the moment, this email can also be a hint that Google might be thinking about expanding the Pixel Launcher to all Android in the future. Even though chances of happening the same are quite scarce for now, we can’t deny that completely for sure.