The world of news-reading apps has changed considerably in the last few years. All Internet users, from mobile social media junkies to office professionals pumping out content over a bonded t1 line, should welcome innovation in how news content is displayed and navigated. The latest Google app, Currents, picks up where Flipboard and Zite left off and attempts to move the ball forward in this increasingly competitive industry.
Google Currents, which hit the ground running in December of last year, is the latest tablet app that attempts to streamline the display of online content like articles and news stories by giving them an online-magazine aesthetic and functionality. Compatible with all major tablet and mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android, Currents presents a Flipboard-like interface that simplifies syndicated content and makes it significantly easier to view and navigate. Following in the footsteps of apps like Flipboard and Zite, Google’s new functionality is intended to enhance the experience of sharing photos, watching YouTube, and streaming content from the Android Market and iPhone app store.
Google collaborated with over 150 partners, including CNET, PBS, and HuffingtonPost in order to make sure the service would work optimally for publishers of all kinds. This includes making stories, photos and videos expandable in 500px for better viewing. Currents, which is both free and cross-platform, will also integrate your previous RSS feeds and stream subscriptions and improve upon them by using a new trends tab to recommend new content that you may be interested in. This means that you won’t have to spend your first few hours with Currents upgrading your old feeds, it will do that for you.
Google Currents does have some drawbacks. It doesn’t feature any predictive news aggregation like competitor News360. Nor does it curate for you like Flipboard or integrate Twitter updates. That said, Currents does work hand-in-hand with a supplementary service offered by Google that acts as a self-service platform, allowing publishers to digitally syndicate their content and then use Google Analytics to keep up with their metrics. This self-publishing service, known as “producer,” works equally well for small bloggers to national network news sites. For anyone looking to expand the reach of their blog without investing in expensive Drupal or Joomla CMS features, Google’s new attempt at user-friendly syndication should be welcomed with open arms and a lightning quick ds3 service.
In addition to its inexpensiveness, ease of use, and cross-device syncing options, Currents also showcases Google’s new font, “Roboto.” For font fanatics, this just may push the app over the edge.