Android 7.1 feature spotlight: App shortcuts are supported in the Google Now Launcher

There were some interesting features announced as part of the launch of Google's Pixel phones. While some are exclusives to the new handsets, others are a part of the new Android 7.1 Nougat. One of the headlining features for the new OS version is the App Shortcuts API, a way for apps to offer fast access to select screens and functions. If you've been looking forward to trying it out, the Google Now Launcher in combination with today's developer preview fully supports app shortcuts and there's already plenty of examples to try out.

We've known for a while that App Shortcuts would be making a return in Android 7.1. Originally introduced as the Launcher Shortcuts API in the second N Developer Preview, it was pulled a month later for nonspecific reasons and with a promise it would return in the future. The Pixel announcement and subsequent news from Google mentioned the API, now renamed App Shortcuts, but gave no confirmation whether it would be supported right away in the non-exclusive Google Now Launcher. The developer previews finally give us that confirmation.

This is definitely important because it gives developers an opportunity to begin building and testing shortcuts in their own apps without necessarily purchasing Pixel phones