If you’re into Android customization like I am, you’ve likely heard of Nova Launcher before. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you check it out, because it’s life altering – in a good way, of course. Whether you’re already a Nova user, or you’re just tuning in, there’s another app that you need to install to go along with it. It’s called Sesame Shortcuts, and it will forever change the way you interact with your device. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Originally designed as an “Automatic Auto-Input” concept, Sesame Shortcuts is 100% integrated and built to run alongside of Nova Launcher, although it does work on its own as a standalone app, as well. Integration with Nova requires Android 5.0 or greater, while the standalone Sesame Shortcuts app works on Android 4.4 and up. Nova integration also requires you to be part of the Nova Beta and to have Nova Launcher 5.4-beta-3 installed.
It’s available to try for free on a 14-day trial basis, but it remains free after said trial expires. You’ll receive a gentle reminder to purchase the app for $2.99, but you aren’t obligated to do so in any way.
You should always support the developers of apps you like when possible however, as it’s this type of support that lets great apps like Sesame to continue to grow and get even better. And a $2.99 donation to keep the app up and running is nothing, especially when you can get free Google Play Store cash as easily as you can.
But enough about that. Let’s talk features, yeah? Sesame Shortcuts has a laundry list of them.
- 100+ shortcuts added to your device
- Integrated into Nova Launcher App Search and Icon Long Press (like 7.1 shortcuts)
- Easy setup, just install Sesame and Nova Launcher
- Adds a Google Search option to Nova Launcher App Search
- Search ranking
- Learns from each interaction, updates search ranking based on usage
- First letter ranking. You can type “S” “B” and “Spotify: The Beatles” will come up
- The combination of 1 and 2 means stuff you use regularly is 1 or 2 touches away
- Full control via Settings. Turn ON/OFF at the app or individual shortcut level
- Make your own shortcuts
- Beta features:
- Lock Screen
- With a wallpaper of the day
- Edge Launcher
- With ability to pin apps, change sort order, customize look and position
- Lock Screen
- Contacts with one touch to call, text, or email
- WhatsApp conversations (not group ones though)
- Google Shortcuts (My flights, etc.)
(Android 7.1 App Shortcuts: Back-ported all the way to 4.4 devices!)
Sesame Shortcuts lets you create custom shortcuts for a number of popular apps. like Netflix, Maps, Chrome, Chrome Beta, Waze, YouTube, Spotify, Yelp, Google, Google Play Music, and the Google Play Store. It also works with Spotify, Slack, Reddit and Tasker via API integrations. I’m sure additional services will be added as the app evolves, too.
If you’re searching for a way to make your Android phone look and feel like the latest and greatest “Pure Android Experience” devices, look no further than Sesame Shortcuts and Nova Launcher. You don’t have to plop down a ton of cash on a new phone to achieve such a thing. In fact, you can do so for less than the cost of a decent burger these days, if you pick both apps up.
Much more than just a long press of an app icon here
At first, I thought the same thing, too.
There’s SO much more here when you start using the intelligent search UI, however. For example, I love Google Keep. I practically live by it. If I type “KNN” then “Keep: New Note” comes up. Or for Google Maps, “MH” lets me check the traffic to get home in a second (Maps: Home).
Sesame makes new shortcuts based on your behavior, too. Right now, it works for websites you visit and searches you’ve done in Spotify (when you tap on a “Top result”). The development team will be expanding these features soon. Their philosophy is, “What does the end-user actually use? Let’s make that 2 taps away.”
Some background info on Sesame Shortcuts…
Sesame Shortcuts is developed by the Sesame crew, a two-man team out of Greenville, South Carolina. The team consists of Steve Blackwell & Phil Wall, two long-time friends.
The app itself started as a shortcut mapper, almost like a web crawler crossed with Tasker’s Auto-Input plugin. It read screen data as you used your device and mapped connections. Then it built shortcuts back to places you visit frequently.
The Sesame Shortcuts in the Play Store today is a scaled back and more stable approach. It pieces together all the useful intents and APIs the Sesame crew could think of.
Top-notch customer support
Customer support is extremely important, and the Sesame crew knows this. As such, they provide some of the best customer support I’ve ever seen, in regards to the Android development game. If you don’t wanna take my word for it, have a look at their support forum over on Reddit.
They’re also quick to respond and help via email and on Twitter, as well. I can’t stress how awesome this is, because if you have an issue, they’ll be right there to assist.
We’ll keep a close eye on Sesame Shortcuts and we’ll certainly let you know as new features trickle down the pipeline. I can’t say much about what’s in store for the future, but I can tell you based on our inside source, BIG things are on the horizon for both Sesame and Nova.
For now, you can grab both apps using the links below. I also threw in a link for Nova Launcher Prime. It’s $4.99, and it unlocks a ton of functionality within the mega-popular launcher app. For the two, it’s 8 bucks well spent, in my opinion.