Now, we learn that Nova was acquired by Branch. This is an analytics company that seems to be interested in using the Nova launcher as a test platform of sorts. In a blog post on the launcher's blog, the lead developer and creator of Nova, Kevin Barry went into details regarding the acquisition. He made it clear that he will remain in charge of the development of the popular launcher and said he is optimistic that Nova and Branch will manage to make the launcher even better.
According to with Kevin Barry, Branch is looking to move forward with several test scenarios leveraging Nova's huge user base. As far as we can tell, Branch can't move forward with analytics testing without engaging a significant set of users. At the same time, Nova cannot judge, based on the analytics required, how to offer a better product to its own users. In this sense, the acquisition of Nova by Branch makes sense, as the two companies will help each other to offer their customers better products.
However, Kevin Barry in his post argues that things are not going to change much for Nova after the takeover. There are no plans to change the revenue generation strategy for example, with Kevin Barry claiming: "While Nova's revenue generation capability played an important role in the acquisition deal and with the Nova Launcher Prime program to continue, Nova Launcher revenue generation is not something that Branch is interested in changing." Given the above, we probably won't see the free version of Nova filled with... ads, at least for now. The company, confirmed to Android Authority website the above saying: "Nova's operating model will remain as it is to date and there is no intention to add ads to the Nova Launcher."
What changes are coming? Logically, the biggest changes will probably involve new features, which will be launched more quickly and possibly not as refined. This means that we will periodically see the addition of more experimental features, launched earlier than normal, so that users can evaluate them by forwarding feedback to Nova and Branch. Possibly we will see more A/B testing, meaning that some users will receive new features and others will not or will receive slightly different versions of those features. In any case, the above is speculation. Sooner or later we will see what this acquisition means for Nova Launcher.