It’s finally here! Nova Launcher has finally received Google Now integration, allowing users to simply swipe left to access Google Now, just like they would on the Google Now Launcher. You also do not need root or a paid app to enable this functionality.
Back when Google added an API to allow device manufacturers to include the Google Now pane in their launchers, Google also placed a few restrictions on which apps could make use of this API. Only system apps were granted permission to use the Google Now pane. Alternatively, if the Google app itself was debuggable, you could enable the Google Now pane on the launcher, though this was an impractical workaround.
Thus, to enable a Google Now pane in the launcher, you needed root in order to move the launcher to the /system partition. This was deemed too big of a hassle, as needing root just to use your favorite launcher with some additional functionality was asking too much from users. Rooting the device, while easy for us at XDA-Developers and our readers, is something still unknown to the vast majority of Android users, so this was an impractical solution.
The other workaround to enable the Google Now pane was to utilize Nova’s gesture support to set up a gesture to open the Google app. But this workaround needed Nova Launcher Prime (a paid app) to enable gesture support in the first place.
Thankfully, the checks undertaken by the Google app for granting permission to use the Google Now pane have slightly changed. The Google app no longer checks if the app itself is debuggable, but now checks whether the client app is debuggable. Debuggable apps have their own drawbacks like not being publishable on the Play Store, so a workaround had to be thought of to enable the Google Now pane.
Nova Launcher has achieved the workaround through a companion app called “Nova Google Companion”. This companion app fulfills the Google app’s necessity for the client to be debuggable and frees the main Nova Launcher app from such a requirement. However, this companion cannot be published onto the Play Store, but presents little problems as Android allows for easy sideloading.
Download and Installation
If you would like to enable the Google Now pane on Nova Launcher, you will have to download and install the Nova Google Companion app from sources such as APKMirror. You would also need a compatible version of Nova Launcher that detects the companion, and this functionality is available from Nova Launcher 5.3-beta1 onwards. This workaround will work on all Android devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or higher. You do not even need Nova Launcher Prime to make use of this, though many would recommend Prime to be well worth the developer’s effort towards Nova Launcher.
Have you tried out the new companion app to enable the Google Now pane? Would you like to see other launchers adopt this workaround? Let us know in the comments below!Source: AndroidPolice