December 8, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Google was previously rumored to have made an offer for Flipboard, an iOS-only application that brings in feeds from various news source and formats them beautifully for tablets. Google was unsuccessful in the bid for Flipboard, so it made its own.
Meet Google Currents, a “magazine-like editions view” of the news. Currents puts a heavy emphasis on photos and blocks of texts formatted to resemble a digital magazine. Anyone who is a fan of straight lines, minimalism, and quick navigation will probably fall in love with the app. There’s a strong focus on content in Currents, which downloads articles from selected sources in order to enable offline reading. Those articles are then searchable, linkable between each other, and especially formatted. For instance, some publications might include interesting Google+ content, others might have a special section for photo galleries and YouTube videos.
A number of familiar publications are available at launch. Apartment Therapy, Bleacher Report, Celebuzz, The Daily Beast, SB Nation, and TMZ are among the many launch partners (yes, I’m looking into getting Androinica included as soon as I publish this post). Users can also import feeds from Google Reader or see trending topics in Business, Entertainment, Health, Science, Sports, Technology, and World news. Navigation is handled by swiping left and right to turn the page, and readers can use the Android share function to send the information to another app or recommend an article to Google+ followers.
Currents looks good on a tablet and a phone. The app links with your Google account, so library information is synched across devices – and it can be fine-tuned with customization options. The app makes a big first impression and makes me think that some other news reading apps are going to face serious competition. Currents is currently – wait for it – available only in the United States on Android 2.2 or higher. Download link below.