Google Currents: How and Why Google Upgraded Its News Reader
April 29, 2013
Just recently Google released Google Currents 2.0. It is compatible with Android 2.2 and later. There is also an iOS release for Apple smartphones and tablets. The new edition is designed to be a serious challenge to Flipboard, a competing app which allows for magazine type formatting for websites and content.
There are many enhancements to Google Currents. Google product manager Mussie Shore stated in a blog post that the development team for Currents had used “some of the technology behind Search to bring you breaking stories on those celebrity scandals, that fiscal cliff negotiation or hottest holiday gift.”
Shore also explained that users now have the ability to scroll through news items that might interest them by simply scanning various news categories, digital publications as well as breaking headline stories.
This edition of Google Currents is optimized for display on any type mobile device. In addition, Shore noted that the breaking news feature is customized to the user’s language and country allowing only relevant news to pop up.
Others at Google have revealed that the goal behind this version was to “make it even easier to scan through all your favorite categories and specific additions would just the swipe of a finger.” In order to achieve this, the app groups editions into categories instead of sites that users subscribe to. The categories are those found on most news pages such as business, lifestyle, science and technology etc.
According to Google there have been millions of downloads since they internationally launched the app in April. In addition Currents carries over 700 publisher additions such as Forbes, PBS, the Guardian, as well as tens of thousands “self-produced editions.” The changes Google made are hoped to make the app not only easier to use but more fun to use too.
Google Currents 2.0 New Features
Fast Scan Feature: this allows users to take advantage of their touch screens by letting a user swipe the screen vertically in order to scan an edition, while a horizontal swipe takes them to the next edition.
Unread Marks: once a story in this category is read it is removed.
Breaking Stories: these are news stories that are trending on Google News with links to complete stories and also the option to save the story for future reference. This section relies heavily on Google search to build trending news lines composed of the five most recent trending stories in categories such as world news, sports, science and more. Every hour these trending stories contain new articles, pictures and videos.
While the initial version of this app was disappointing to many; its new design looks great, is fast and fun and shows that Google is capable of excellent design.