Nova Launcher, sold to a company specialising in data collection and analysis. The new owner is already announcing “experiments”

Nova Launcher, one of the oldest and best-known apps for customizing the Android interface, has just been sold to a company that specializes in large-scale data collection.

Even as developer Kevin Barry tries to reassure fans of the app by announcing that he will continue to work on maintaining and improving it, the new owner, a company called Branch, is already confirming plans to include user groups in various “test scenarios.”

According to developer Kevin Barry, Branch wants to use the huge user base to conduct large-scale analyses that could not be conducted with small study groups. Instead the Nova developer is getting useful analytics that could help him better determine user preferences and possible aspects of the app that should be improved as a priority.

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Nova Launcher

For now, the only firm promise is that the Nova Launcher experience will not fundamentally change after the changeover. At the moment, there are no plans to change the monetization strategy. However, developer Kevin Barry admits that the prospect of monetizing the user base was a determining factor in the acquisition decision, “While Nova Launcher’s monetization capability played a role in the acquisition agreement and the Prime option will not go away, monetizing Nova Launcher is not something Branch would be interested in changing.”

Reading between the lines, that means users probably won’t be bothered with ads in the free version of the app for now. Rather, user data becomes the “product” desired by the new owner, so pay close attention to the permissions granted when installing new Nova Launcher versions.

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