Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nova Launcher to offer even more ways to customize your device with new shortcuts

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We all love the Android 7.1 Nougat shortcuts. Everything that saves time these days is welcome functionality, especially when it comes to multitasking on our smartphones. That being said, many users would like to do more with shortcuts, but are limited by what Google provides.


This is now changing, however, at least if you’re a Nova Launcher user willing to install the latest beta (version 5.4). Nova has partnered with a couple of developers, known as Sesame crew, to bring their Sesame Shortcuts app features to its launcher. The app provides users with a huge number of preset shortcuts and the means to build and customize their own.


Want a quick way to search for the latest Orange is the New Black episodes on Netflix? No problem — once you’ve created the shortcut, just hold the Netflix icon and it should pop up. Tap it, and you’ll be taken straight to the Netflix search results. This is just one of many uses for Sesame Shortcuts.


Better yet, it looks like these shortcuts are going to be available to users running Android 5.0 or above (the standalone Sesame Shortcuts app is compatible with Android 4.4 KitKat and above, but it lists integration with Nova Launcher App Search from Android 5.0 — it’s possible that this is true for the dedicated shortcuts too).


The app also revamps Nova’s app search. Now, it will show results from inside the app itself. For example, if you search Mom, it will display options for a call, email, message, WhatsApp, and every other supported app that you can use to get in touch with your mom.


In theory, this sounds like an awesome addition to Nova Launcher. Who doesn’t want to get more done faster? However, what we’ve seen from Sesame Shortcuts does look a bit unwieldy. In the GIF demo Nova provided, searching for “by” returned results from the contact list, WhatsApp, Google Maps, YouTube, and even Spotify. So, we guess that users will have to be quite specific in their search terms, or finding what they actually need could be cumbersome.



Additionally, a lot of users seem to be experiencing issues with the new functionality. The biggest problem seems to be that once a shortcut is created, it cannot be deleted. Shortcuts can be deactivated, but they will remain in the list forever (or at least until the developers provide a way to delete them), resulting in unnecessary clutter.


Another problem is that once the app search is open, the keyboard appears for a fraction of the second and disappears immediately after. Tapping on the search field does bring it back up, but considering Sesame Shortcuts is meant to reduce tapping around UI elements, this proves to be an annoying, if minor, bug.


Thankfully, both of these issues will be resolved soon, according to Nova and Sesame.


So, have you installed the latest Nova Launcher beta yet? If yes, how do you like the new shortcuts? Let us know in the comments.

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