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John Catral
Tech guy, Amateur Photographer, Subaru lover, a big New Jersey Devils and Liverpool FC supporter, husband, and most importantly, a Father of two little boys. :)
Tech guy, Amateur Photographer, Subaru lover, a big New Jersey Devils and Liverpool FC supporter, husband, and most importantly, a Father of two little boys. :)

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Another awesome feature!

Thank you, Nova Launcher :)
I've been working for Nova Launcher for nearly 2 years now and I can tell you that the most requested feature since the day I started is/was for Nova to integrate Google Now into the launcher so we can all swipe right and access the Google Now feed.

Due to API restrictions and other things, this wasn't possible without it being hacked in the launcher or having Nova Launcher installed as a system app or by being rooted and using custom ROM's and various other things.

Today, that has all changed and I'm so happy to finally see this highly requested feature arrive within Nova Launcher.

While it does take an additional APK(Kevin will be explaining more about the reason behind this soon) to get it working, it's something that's very simple and doesn't require installing anything as a system app, rooting your device or anything else.

Simply install Nova Launcher 5.3-beta-1 that was released today to the beta community and then install the Nova Google Companion app(, disable Infinite Scroll and make sure you're using Android 6.0 or higher. Once those requirements are met, simply load up Nova Launcher, swipe right and you'll see the Google Now feed in all its glory.

Please note, this is our first release and there are still some issues to work out and to fix, but we're getting there and will hopefully have it all working as perfectly as possible very soon.

If you do experience any issues, please use the Contact Support button within Nova Settings to contact me personally as I handle all email support and I will try my best to help you as quickly as possible.

One last thing to note is that you do need to be part of the Nova Launcher Beta Community which you can find here:

I hope everyone enjoys this much requested feature as much as we enjoy being able to offer it to you within Nova Launcher.

#NovaLauncher #NovaLauncherPrime #GoogleNow #NovaGoogleCompanionApp 

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What's Happened To Google+?

This seems to be a really big question right now and while we have some answers, and maybe a few more than just some, we still have a lot of them that are not answered or that just have us wondering.

The Beginning Of G+

When Google+ was first introduced back in June 2011 and for a good 2, 3 maybe 4 years after that G+ really flourished and it flourished quite well. It grew each and every day, every month and each year according to stats we were seeing and reading about online. Even Googlers themselves, such as +Natalie Villalobos and others were telling us how G+ was growing, what good things were happening and other great news on a pretty regular basis.

Google+ was often updated and new features were added. Bugs were squashed and interaction was superb. And interaction being "superb" is truly an understatement as this place was swarming with people who were posting all day, every day. People such as +Derek Ross(still active, just not as active), +Amanda Blain, +Trey Ratcliff(he still posts here quite a bit) used to post all the time, all day long to where you would see multiple posts in an hour at times from them and that was a good thing.

Fast forward to 2015, maybe early 2016 and things started changing here big time. Bots and spam were becoming much more prevalent and spam comments on posts were becoming more frequent each and every day it seemed.

Accounts with names that you could obviously tell weren't real were popping up everywhere and your follower counts either skyrocketed because of those bots/spam accounts, or they became stale and growth slowed way down or even stopped happening completely.

Late 2016

For some of us like myself who have been here since day one started to get a bit of realization, though we were strongly in denial that maybe those articles on all those sites about "Google+ Is Dead" were becoming more and more true each and every day.

Again fast forward a few months later into 2016 and of course take into consideration that Google Photos and Google Hangouts have both been removed from within G+ itself, and you can see G+ being used less and less by the people you used to interact with daily here. Those people have given up it seems. Maybe not completely but considerably enough that you might rarely see their posts in your stream anymore and this could be the case for days on end.

Personally I feel removing Google Photos and Hangouts was what really helped kill Google+. For Photos it was both a good thing for Photos itself, but a bad thing for G+. For Hangouts, well, we'll save that for another day as Hangouts is still nothing but a huge giant mess that needs to go away.

Google+ In 2017

So now here we are at G+ of today. It's had a massive redesign not long ago that is now what we are all forced to use. So many options and features are missing, communities are still quite troublesome to keep clean as a moderator or an owner and the spam is just crazy insane.

I'm talking crazy insane to the point that Google doesn't seem to care about it. It's not like they can't control it because they do a damn good job each and every day in our email that most of us have been using for much longer than we've been using Google+ itself.

Spam happens all day every day, more so than what +Derek Ross and +Amanda Blain used to post in a single day here, and back then that was a lot of useful information that those two alone were posting here.

During this major redesign that we recently had +Luke Wroblewski used to post on a very regular basis and keep us updated to what was going on with both the web client and the Android/iOS apps. Today, +Luke Wroblewski hasn't posted much of anything in weeks and I can't recall the last time he updated us about Google+ and what was going on.

With that said about Luke, I can now see why that doesn't happen as he has silently left the G+ team all together from what I've read. Again, back in the day, when Googlers changed positions or jobs and they were active here, we heard about it. They posted about it here because that was the thing to do. Googlers were VERY active here at one point in time and it was nice to see.

Another one to up and disappear and one that you really hear nothing much from any longer is +Natalie Villalobos whom I mentioned earlier. Back in the day if you had a problem and you mentioned here, it was pressing the bell at a hotel desk and she was there, assisting however she could or finding the right person who could assist you.

Another famous Googler to just up and disappear from here, +Bradley Horowitz. He hasn't posted anything in over 6 months yet he's supposed to be in charge of this place in some form or fashion, unless that has changed and we never heard about it either.

Then there are other folks such as +Carter Gibson +Leo Deegan +Yonatan Zunger who do post here quite often and that is actually quite satisfying to see. It would just be nice if there was more Googlers posting and we as users knew more of what was going on with this place and what's in store for the future, assuming there is a future left in/for Google+.

Now, let me make one thing clear. I've followed a lot of Google employees here on G+ over the beginning years, because as stated they were very active. I did it because they provided a wealth of information to all of us that was very much worth sharing for others who might have missed it. I didn't follow them just to try and be "cool" or because they were employees of the social network I enjoyed. I did it for a good reason and unfortunately that reason really doesn't exist much anymore except for the couple of folks I mentioned above.

What Happens Next?

So the question today is, what does Google have planned or in store for Google+ as a social media network that we as users grew to love literally overnight and at one point for a long period of time couldn't be productive at work due to having our tab open in our browser for G+.

Where does Google+ go from here? Is it going to die a slow death and just become a spam haven with nothing but fake accounts to the point where it's not worth being here any longer?

Will these folks like +Leo Deegan, +Yonatan Zunger +Carter Gibson or maybe others that I'm not familiar with or know much about do something to and with G+ to win us all back again and keep the blood flowing through the veins of what was in my opinion as well as millions of others, the best social media network on the entire internet?

It's sad that posts like this have to be typed up and the reason for mine was because I saw a post by +Artem Russakovskii this morning, you can read that post here: and it really made me sit and think about my daily use of G+ and how it has changed over the past year or so.

+Artem Russakovskii happens to be someone I, and many others, really look up to as most of us know him for being the owner/founder of +Android Police and just an all around great guy. He's vocal about his opinions and he can be quite blunt at times and to me, that's important and I respect it.

So when I saw his post this morning it really hit home because every word he spoke is 100% true in so many ways that it's actually very sad.

I hope we don't lose people like +Artem Russakovskii but I don't feel like there's anything here that's going to stop us from doing so and that's very possibly because I'm in the same boat as he is and trying to decide how often I continue to use Google+.

One thing that certainly keeps me here is the fact that I work for Nova Launcher which is one of the best 3rd party launcher apps for Android, and we have 2 very large communities here that are very active. Because I handle all email support and social media related stuff, I am here for that by all means and am more than happy to be here for that as Nova has some awesome and amazing users and our communities are truly one of a kind.

Beyond that, what's here on Google+ for me after nearly 6 years(June 29th, 2011) of service and dedication? What can Google do to save this place though we all have ideas and suggestions that we can answer that question with. The real question is, WILL Google do anything to save this place, this place that so many of us have called "home" for so many years, this place where we've met and become really good friends with a lot of people along the way?

At this point, the ball is totally in Google's court and it's up to them if they just stand there and dribble, or do some assisting, passing and shooting to score a few points and head for the championship game.

I'm really curious to see where this post goes and if it simply falls on deaf ears, or will those folks like +Yonatan Zunger +Carter Gibson and +Leo Deegan step up and offer some information or insight of any kind at all?

I welcome anyone and everyone to comment on this post and to give your honest feedback and input and your thoughts on the future of Google+, the social networks of all social networks.

#GooglePlus #Google #SocialMedia #SaveItFromDying #DontLetitDie

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Selling my Pixel that's in Mint condition! Only reason I'm selling it is because I am using a Samsung S8+ now.

#Android #Google #Swappa #ForSale #Pixel

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Anyone looking for a Minty 128GB Quite Black Google Pixel XL? Selling with lots of goodies! :)

I'm selling it because like +Patrick Hill, I switched to a smaller Google Pixel ;)

#Android #Pixel #Swappa #ForSale

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This awesome! ROFL

Fly United

#NewUnitedAirlinesMottos #funny #LOL

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Oooh... let's update my TAG Heuer Connected to Android Wear 2.0.

What? I need to charge it first? Noooo! 😢


#Android #wear #ConnectedtoEternity

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Now to wait for my TAG Heuer Connected* to get the update!

#AndroidWear #ConnectedToEternity
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