One would think that having among the strongest economies in the developed world, an avid mobile technology user base and well me would make things available here in Canada just a little faster but when it comes to certain Google Releases that is just not the case. I heard about Google Currents yesterday and set out to install it either on my Samsung Galaxy S II or my iPad 2 but was stymied on both accounts for being Canadian…what’s up with that???
So what is Google Currents anyways? In as few as words as possible it is Google’s Flipboard (a news app that I used for about 5 minutes on the iPad before making the permanent switch to Zite. Because both the Apple App Store and the Android Market have blocked me from installing this on my Canadian Devices I will have to defer to the review done by Andrew Counts at Digital Trends yesterday for some insights into the User side of things:
“Google today released its highly-anticipated news reader app, Google Currents, which aims to take on the likes of Pulse, Flud, Zite, Yahoo’s Livestand and, of course, Flipboard. As with these apps, Currents is a way to read online content with a polished, re-packaged design.”
Google automatically gives you a few subscriptions, just to get your feet wet. These include publications like Forbes, Good, and 500px, all of which were pre-selected as launch partners for Currents. On the iPhone and Android phone versions, six publication icons fit on each page, and you can scroll through your subscriptions by swiping from left to right. (Twelve fit on the tablet version.)
Currents allows you to view all the standard types of content, like articles, pictures and video. But the experience you get differs from article to article, and from publisher to publisher. Any publisher or blog can have their content reformatted to work with the HTML 5-powered Currents, and much of the layout options are left up to the publisher. (There are, however, a few standard templates, so it’s not all over the place.)
As expected these days, Currents (supposedly) allows you to post content from the app to a wide range of social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. You can also save to Instapaper, Pinboard, or send it via email. Of course, right at the top of the list is a Google Plus +1 Button.
We’ve only spent a limited time with Currents, but compared to Flipboard, this really isn’t much of a competition. Flipboard just looks, and works, better. In fact, while comparing the two apps, we repeatedly got sidetracked by checking out content on Flipboard. With Currents, we didn’t get sucked in once.
From a User perspective Flipboard may be more polished but there is an issue with getting new content out there and that is where I think Google can be a big time win. The creation of your own Currents Publication takes about 5 minutes through the Chrome Browser and allows you to tweak the user experience for Android Phones, Tablets, iPhones and iPads from one simple interface.
I can add different RSS Feeds, new Articles, direct Photos a Video Channel, Social Updates and a full Table of Contents.
Expect to see a Krispys Rants edition of currents available this weekend and have a whole new way to consume the goodness that is “As Good as a Fresh Baked Donut, without all the Calories”. Well Week one is almost in the books…I must say I am missing the Caribbean…especially with the snow starting to fall here making South Western Ontario a Winter Wonderland.
Chris J Powell