Google is going to remove Google Now Launcher from the Play Store in the coming weeks. All the GMS (Google Mobile Services) partners got the alert email from Google explaining that the devices which ships with GNL (Google Now Launcher) will no longer be available with the same. The devices which already having this launcher app will continue to receive updates via Google app for Android but it seems there will be tiny updates (no major improvements) due to the discontinuation of GNL.
Pixel launcher app will be continued for the Pixel smartphone users. It will be good if Google make the Pixel Launcher available for others users too. If the device makers bring Google Now Launcher in GMS package, they will not get the approval after March 1, 2017. Even this app launcher will be unpublished from Play Store. Apart from this GNL will also get removed from Google Mobile Services used by OEMs.
Furthermore, Google Search Launcher Services library which is under testing phase for a short time period is available for OEM partners. Sony is already using this service for its launchers.
The users, who rely on Google Now Launcher, can use other third party launcher such as Nova Launcher. Hopefully the Google will also provide the alternative for GNL either by introducing new launcher app or by opening the door of Pixel Launcher app for other users too. Let’s wait for the announcement of further plans of Google.