Google Pixel Launcher may not have as many functions as third-party alternatives such as Lawnchair, Nova Launcher or Action Launcher, but its simplicity and clean design have won many fans. The launcher comes pre-installed on Google Pixel devices and rarely receives updates. Usually, we see new features coming to the launcher when Google launches a new Pixel device or a major Android update.
While the first preview for Android 11 developers did not bring any new Pixel Launcher features. However, we know that Google has been working on the launcher since we saw clues about a new “active seat” feature. Now, XDA senior member paphonb, one of the Lawnchair team developers and a veteran Pixel Launcher modifier, has discovered several other new features that might be coming to the Google startup application.
In addition, the Paphonb modified the latest version of Pixel Launcher from Android 11 Developer Preview to show several features in development. These features include new actions in the overview of recent applications, the ability to hide suggestions from individual applications in the application drawer, and automatic naming of newly created folders.
New Actions in Recent Apps Overview
On Android 9 Pie, Google moved the code for the SystemUI recent application driver to Launcher3, which is the initiator of AOSP. In the process, Google also introduced higher quality recent application summary cards that were scrolling horizontally, a service that allows the user to select text and images from the summary cards (Pixel devices only) and a service that displays a row of Suggested applications below The summary card.
Now on Android 11, Google is trying to replace the application suggestion row in the overview of recent applications with a set of 3 actions. These actions include “select”, “screenshot” and “share”. The “select” button did not work for paphonb, but we can guess what it does.
It is likely to highlight all the text and images that can be selected on the summary card. As for the other two buttons, the screen capture button captures an image of the application that is in focus, while the share button captures a screen capture and then opens the share menu so you can quickly share it.
Hiding Individual App Suggestions
Paphonb modified the latest version of Pixel Launcher from Android 11 Developer Preview to show several features in development. These features include new actions in the overview of recent applications, the ability to hide suggestions from individual applications in the application drawer, and automatic naming of newly created folders.
The suggested row of Google applications is based on recent applications that you have opened most frequently. While it is possible to hide this row completely by going to the Suggestions submenu in the Pixel Launcher configuration, it is not possible to prevent certain applications from appearing in this row.
However, that could change soon. Paphonb shared a screenshot that shows a new “do not suggest application” action by long-pressing the icon of any application in the row of suggested applications. This action currently does not work, but it is clear what it would do.
Auto Name Folders
Pixel Launcher will soon be able to automatically provide a name for the newly created folders that you create by dragging and dropping the icon of one application over another. Currently, you can name folders manually by touching the “unnamed” text at the bottom of the folder, but Google can save you a little effort by detecting what type of applications you are grouping.
For example, in the following video, paphonb showed that Pixel Launcher automatically names a newly created “Communication” folder when grouping messages and Gmail. He also showed it by naming a newly created folder as “Social” when he joined Telegram and Facebook.