|Review: Google Currents|
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 09:30
Google Currents has the tagline free beautiful magazines and I think that's a perfect description for this app. Currents turns just about any news source into eye candy, making it easy and attractive to consume large amounts of content.
Previously only accessible to the US, Currents has now gone international so it's finally officially available to South Africans.
This is great news for rapid content consumers such as myself and is especially a relief for me as I have been using app installation files made available online by unverified sources. This is of course quite risky from a security perspective. I've had months to enjoy this fantastic app, warts and all, but it has been annoying to have to source a new file with each update instead of the preferable applications store system.
On initial launch, Google Currents syncs free publisher editions such as Fast Company and Mashable. These can be removed and others added to your liking. Currents additionally has Trending Editions, which aggregates trending stories on an hourly basis by chosen category. It's a great way to discover publishers.
Sync options include frequency of edition updates as well as ideal connection type, the latter of which you will appreciate should you have added numerous news sources that would otherwise zap your mobile data.
I had previously experienced issues with syncing stories from my chosen news source as well as the speed at which this function was carried out. This seems to have been improved considerably - it runs without effort. Visually, I like it better than any other newsreader I've ever tried on Android.
It's not possible to talk about Google Currents without drawing comparison to the highly acclaimed Flipboard for iPad, which could be argued as possibly the best-looking news app for tablets. Although my interaction with Flipboard has been limited, I think that Currents is comparable in terms of visual appeal but perhaps lacking in some functionality - being able to extract stories from your Social networks, for instance, would have been a nice touch.
Settings are straight-forward and adding new publishers is pretty easy.
The usual advantages of app association with a Google account exists, including Google Reader integration whose subscriptions can be imported. For those with more than one device, Currents editions are synchonised and retained across all of them.
New to v1.1.0 is Offline Reading, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Needless to say, this is awfully handy when Internet connection is dodgy.
Another addition to this version of Currents is automatic translation to a preferred language so you can subscribe to and read different language feeds at the mercy of the sometimes-wonky Google Translate. Nice idea, though.
As much as I love Currents, I've held onto Pulse News Reader as I think that they don't entirely replace each other. I find Pulse easier and faster to navigate through several sources, thanks to their pagination system and row arrangement for quick side-scrolling. Google Current is however worth checking out at the very least.
Even my humble, average-looking personal blog looks pretty good in Currents.
When launched for the first time, Currents runs a quick tutorial but I doubt you would need it.
Google Currents is available as a free download from Google Play.
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