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Google unveils instant must-have news aggregator in Currents

by Brad Spirrison

Not to be outdone by Flipboard, which earlier this week made its iPad app universal for iOS devices but remains out of reach for Android and other platforms, Google today released its free Google Currents application. Currents is a home run app for news junkies and casual app users alike.

In a world with hundreds if not thousands of news readers and aggregators available for iOS and Android devices, Currents is immediately on the short list of any news and pop culture app worth tapping into. Available on day one for Android smartphones and tablets — I tested it on the Samsung Galaxy 7.0 Plus and Samsung Galaxy 10.1 — as well as universal for iOS devices, Google Currents combines the elegance of Flipboard with the speed and comprehensiveness of Google.

Mind you, if you are looking for social aggregation tools which display links from your Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn contacts in magazine form, then Currents is not for you. Currently, users are only able to outwardly share links with their contacts. Not surprisingly, Google+ is the most easily available sharing option. For strong adherents to Google News, who, like me, would like a better mobile and browser-based way to read stories served, Google Currents offers a magazine-like format (or Flipboard format) that makes reading more aesthetically pleasing.

Upon opening the app, users are served default titles including Forbes, Fast Company and The Daily Beast. Adding new publications to the library is done through the “Add More” icon, which offers a comprehensive menu of news, business, sports and other genres. The small-to-start curators section serves up Google+ profiles of Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki and other thought leaders.

Users can also tap into trending stories for world, business, entertainment, sports, health, technology and science news that virtually mirror what is found at Google News.

Most impressively with Google Currents is the speed in which it uploads to the library and trending sections, and allows users to whiz through stories (particularly in landscape mode). While I look forward to future updates and iterations and seeing this app evolve, Google Currents is a great addition to an Android ecosystem that is still deprived from having Flipboard which remains in a league of its own. It’s a great complement to Flipboard on the iPhone and iPad.