One of the best features in Google’s stock launchers is quick access to the Google Feed. This started with the Google Now Launcher and continued on in Pixel Launcher—but you can easily add it to Nova Launcher, too.

The Google Feed, which started its life as Google Now many moons ago, is a quick way to access stories that Google thinks will appeal to you. You can customize its content to remain relevant to your interests, and let Google do the rest. Once you’ve taken the time to really set it up, it’s an excellent way to get news you care about quickly.

In both the Google Now Launcher and Pixel Launcher, you can quickly access the Google Feed by swiping to the leftmost home screen. In third-party launchers, however, this wasn’t possible. That’s why a companion app for Nova Launcher was created to enable this feature.

The aptly named Nova Google Companion app does exactly what the name suggests: adds a Google Feed pane to Nova Launcher. It’s a great way to have Pixel-like functionality from an arguably better launcher. There’s only one catch: the Google Companion can’t be uploaded to the Play Store (more on that in just a bit), so you’ll have to sideload it. If you’re not familiar with that, check out our primer. It should tell you everything you need to know.

RELATED: How to Sideload Apps on Android

Installing the Nova Google Companion

Due to Google Play rules, the Nova Google Companion isn’t allowed in the Play Store. The short explanation here is because the app is a debuggable client (a necessary workaround in order for this to work in the first place), so it’s not publishable in the Play Store. That’s why you have to sideload it.

As highlighted above, you’ll need to enable sideloading before you can install the app. In Nougat (Android 7.x) and below, you can find this in Settings > Security > Unknown Sources. In Oreo (Android 8.x), sideloading is enabled on a per-app basis, so you’ll need to jump into Settings > Apps > your browser > Advanced > Install Unknown Apps. If you have any issues, we have a detailed guide here that should be able to clear it up.

Left: Android Nougat on the Galaxy S8; Right: Oreo on the Galaxy S9

Once that’s enabled, you’ll need to grab the Nova Google Companion APK from APK Mirror. You’ll probably get a warning that this type of file can harm your device—if that shows up, just tap the “OK” button. This is a trustworthy app from a trustworthy source.

With the file downloaded, pull down the notification shade and give it a tap to launch the installation. Tap the “Install” button and let it do its thing.

When it’s finished, tap the “Done” button. Now, head back to your home screen and swipe over to the leftmost screen. You may need to grant the app permission to save app activity here—just tap “Turn On” to make that happen.

That’s all there is to it—the Google Feed is now part of Nova. Nice.

Customizing or Disabling Google Feed Integration

There aren’t many customization options built directly into the launcher, but there are a couple of tweaks available. Jump into Nova’s Settings menu, and then tap the “Integrations” option.

The first couple of settings on the Integrations page are for the Google Feed page (it’s called Google Now in the launcher itself): the first toggle enables/disables it, the second lets you swipe in from the edge of any launcher page to jump straight to your Feed, and the last one tweaks the animation.

Finally, you can check for updates to the Google Companion with the button just below these options. Easy peasy.

The Google Feed gets a bad rap from a lot of users, but it’s honestly quite good once you take the time to customize it. Fortunately, we have a guide on making the most of your Google Feed, so if you haven’t already checked that out, it can help you make the Google Feed great.

RELATED: How to Customize the Google Feed (and Make It Actually Useful)

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
Read Full Bio »