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Pixel Launcher: New Features are Being Tested on Android 11

Google is currently testing the Pixel Launcher in Android 11 on some app overviews, hiding certain application suggestions, and more. The launcher is a pre-installed app on Google Pixel devices, and it hardly sees any updates.

The launcher doesn’t pack as many features as other third-party options, such as Lawnchair, Nova Launcher, and so on, but its minimalist design has made it incredibly popular. The app usually receives new features when Google launches a new Pixel device or a significant Android update, but the first Android 11 Developer Preview has come empty-handed. Even so, Google has been working on the new launcher as numerous hints indicate a new ‘hot seat’ feature.

Newly Found Features

Now, XDA senior member paphonb, one of the developers behind Lawnchair and an expert in Pixel Launcher mods, has found numerous other new features that could be implemented in Google’s launcher.

Paphonb modified the most recent Pixel Launcher installment from the Android 11 Developer Preview in order to showcase numerous features that are being worked on. These functionalities comprise new actions in the recent application overview, the possibility to hide certain app suggestions in the app drawer, as well as automatic naming of newly-designed folders.

New Actions in Recent Apps Overview

In Android 9 Pie, Google transported the code for the recent apps manager from SystemUI to Launcher3, which is the stock AOSP launcher. While doing so, the tech giant also incorporated higher-quality recent app overview cards that scrolled in a horizontal pattern. This service enables users to select text and images from overview cards on Pixel devices only and showcases a line of suggested apps beneath the overview card.

In Android 11, Google is now testing the application suggestion line in the recent apps overview with three different approaches: ‘select,’ ‘screenshot,’ and ‘share.’

Hiding Standalone App Suggestions

The suggested apps line shows recent apps that users have most usually launched. Although it is possible to hide this row completely by heading to the ‘Suggestions’ submenu in the launcher’s settings, it is not possible to restrict particular applications from appearing in the row. This will, however, change soon.

Automatically Naming Folders

The Pixel Launcher is said to be able to automatically generate a name for newly-created folders users make when they drag and drop one app icon into another. At the moment, there is the possibility to manually name folders by clicking on the ‘unnamed’ text that appears on the bottom side of the folder, but the new implementation would help users tremendously by simply detecting what types of apps they put in one place.

There’s no information regarding how exactly the Pixel Launcher is deciding what type of apps the user has grouped together, but it is probable that Google is making use of a long list of names and sorts of the most popular applications that can be found in the Play Store.

These features are not yet accessible for users in the most recent Pixel Launcher update, and it is possible that Google may not even release them at all. Such features can be found, though, in modified versions of the tech giant’s Pixel Launcher.

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