Google launches Currents newsreader app for Android, iOS

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is introducing Currents, a newsreader application enabling users to explore online magazines and other digital content optimized for access via touch-enabled smartphones and tablets.

google currents

Click here to view this video about Google Currents.

Optimized for devices running Google's Android mobile operating as well as rival Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and iPad, Currents touts full-length articles from more than 150 publisher partners, including PBS, Forbes, Fast Company, Saveur and The Huffington Post. All content is available for free--users simply download the Currents app and subscribe to publications they wish to read. Users can also add RSS, video and photo feeds, public Google+ streams and Google Reader subscriptions they're already following--a trending tab recommends related content tailored for each user's individual tastes.

"Alongside Google Currents, we're also launching a self-service platform that gives publishers the flexibility to design, brand and customize their web content," product manager Mussie Shore and technical lead Sami Shalabi write on the Official Google Mobile Blog. "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."

Currents additionally integrates with the fledgling Google+ social network, enabling users to share articles and videos with contacts in their circles. Publishers can also link their account with Google Analytics to gain insight into their consumers' content preferences, device use and geographic distribution.

Reports of the Currents project first surfaced in mid-September--known at that time as Propeller, the app was touted as Google's response to Flipboard, the popular iPad application that lays out personalized headlines, photos, videos and social media content in a magazine-like format. Insiders say Google entered negotiations to acquire Flipboard last year, but the startup declined Google's overtures. Google reportedly told Flipboard that if the two sides could not reach an agreement, it would introduce its own magazine-style social reader app, joining other Flipboard rivals including Yahoo's Livestand and Zite.

Flipboard, first launched for Apple's iPad tablet in mid-2010, finally expanded to the iPhone earlier this week in a redesigned format optimized for more efficient smartphone access. While Flipboard readers on the iPad flip through magazine-like pages of content, the iPhone experience employs a vertical, thumb-swipe approach enabling users to access content while holding the device in one hand.

For more:
- read this Official Google Mobile Blog entry

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