Google Currents launches as a magazine-reading application on Android smartphones and tablets as well as on Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Flipboard, Zite and Yahoo all have stakes in this game.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Dec. 8 launched Google Currents, its
long-awaited magazine-reading application for smartphones and tablets, joining an
increasingly competitive field led by Flipboard and Zite.
Google Currents will let users access and read articles
from more than 180 publications on Android smartphones and tablets, as well as
Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads and iPhones. Full-length articles from CNET, Forbes,
PBS, Huffington Post and other publications will be accessible with the swipe
of a finger across smartphone and tablet displays.
U.S. users can download the app from the
and the Apple
and begin subscribing to the
Once subscribed, users may then add RSS, video and photo
feeds, as well as Google Reader subscriptions they're already following, to make the
app's content more comprehensive.
For those in the mood for new content
discovery, a trending tab will offer related content that matches readers' preferences.
Currents users can share content with their contacts on the Google+ social
Content users access is then available offline, cached by
Google, so that users can read articles even without a Web connection.
A video of the demo shows Currents looking quite sleek,
found it to be decent and its social features "lackluster"
because the app emphasizes Google+ and hides sharing access to Facebook and
also has a balanced review of the software user experience.
Google is also launching a self-service platform to let
publishers design, brand and customize their Web content for Google Currents. Publishers
can connect their account with Google Analytics to get more information about
their readers' preferences.
"For example, if you're a small regional news
outlet, a non-profit organization without access to a mobile development team,
or a national TV network with Web content, you can effortlessly create hands-on
digital publications for Google Currents," explained Mussie Shore, the Currents product manager, and Sami Shalabi, the
technical lead for Currents, in a blog post
Google, which less than 24 hours after launching the app
is already taking flak for the fact that Currents is only available in the
United States, is entering a field that is heating up.
Flipboard is the leader, thanks to its large presence on
the iPad, which has sold over 32 million units. Zite follows Flipboard, and
then there is Yahoo Livestand
, which the company launched for the iPad last month.
While Currents may be late, one thing it did do right out
of the chute was offer articles across all Android and iOS devices.
Flipboard and Zite
, for example, just offered access to their content via the
iPhone this week.