Google Currents is definitely a welcome addition to the newsreader ecosystem on the iOS and Android platforms. It has a clean and slick interface and offers news from a lot of sources. However, issues like slow sync speeds do take some sheen off the app. But nothing major that a couple of updates canï¿½t fix. There is a lot of potential here. No harm in downloading and taking it for a spin.
Close on the heels of Editions by AOL, yet another newsreader app makes its way to the iOS and Android platforms. And we believe it has the right ingredients to do well. Particularly when newsreader apps are becoming a rage, more so on the tablets.
How to get it
Google Currents is currently a U.S. only app, as far as availability on the application stores is concerned. We luckily have a U.S. address! The app will be available globally soon, but at the moment, you need to access the U.S. Apple App Store or Android Market to download this. It is a 10MB (approx.) download.
Look & Feel
Open the app, and you are asked to sign in using your Google ID. This allows you to sync the settings between different devices - enabling seamless use of the app on multiple smartphones/tablets. Straightaway, you will notice how easy the layout is on the eye. Be it the portrait mode or the landscape mode, it works very well.
You have the big image with a headline on top. And these keep changing (looping, essentially) between multiple main stories - news, features etc. Below that is the Library section, with the icons of every source you have subscribed to. All sources are Free to subscribe to at the moment.
Click on any of the icons, and you are led into a magazine-ish layout, with the stories and images laid out like they are in a traditional print product. Click on the headline of any of these stories to read the entire piece.
The sources are well defined in multiple categories. You really wont have any problem finding any one, if you know what genre it falls in. By default, the app signs you up for six sources. But these can be changed at any time.
Features & Performance
Once you have set the subscriptions, Google Currents begins syncing and updating the updates. As the updates complete for each source, you can see the greyed out icons in Library get their colour back. However, the sync process is a tad slow. Once you think the sync has been done, the message at the bottom of the app now starts showing “downloading images”. The entire process does take considerable amount of time, even of you are on a 1Mbps Wi-Fi connection with no other devices hogging the bandwidth. The fact that this app is meant for use on the move, this sluggishness will be a pain to use on the mobile networks.
Leaving that aside, the sheer number of sources on offer, the latest news in a format that is very much readable - that is the real base that Google Currents has to build on.
Whatever has been synced will be available to read offline. You can easily have a Wi-Fi only tablet and carry it on a flight, no web connectivity, but still be able to read the entire thing. We noticed that sometimes, the images don’t really turn up when offline. Hardly something we would be cribbing about, though!
There is the full gamut of social networking integration. You can share any link on Facebook and Twitter as well as via email, Tumblr, Instapaper and PinBoard.
Must download. This is as good as the likes of Editions by AOL and Zite. Will need a bunch of updates to improve the sync speed, but the amazing interface and the bunch of news sources means you will be well informed. And feel good during the process of being informed!
Available for: iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) and Android (tablets and smartphones)
Download from: Apple App Store (U.S. only at the moment) and Android Market