iPad for Marketing App Review: Google Currents
After much anticipation and speculation, Google has finally released Currents—its mobile newsreader. Designed to distribute content via tablet and mobile devices, it fulfills its mission in Google’s typical understated, yet powerful way.
Readers sign in with their Google account credentials and Currents opens to a clean palette of Library icons along with all the reader’s Google Reader content. Information flows seamlessly across Google’s applications, so readers don’t waste time doing repetitive setup.
Adding subscriptions to the library is easy. Readers can search through a host of categories or by publication or RSS feed. Toggle to the Trending plate to view headlines and Library content along with a gallery of half-page images from each headline. Readers can watch the entire rotation or dive into an article.
A serious flaw: even though readers can sync with social media sites such as Facebook, Currents doesn’t use social media settings or activities to tailor content. And compared to Flipboard–which lets users browse their Facebook news in a visually rich, compelling way–Currents’ presentation of social media content falls flat.
If you’re a marketer, though, there’s a lot to like about Currents. Publishers are well supported through the Producer portal. Nearly anyone can quickly and easily set up digital content to flow to both Android and iOS platforms. You can design for tablets or phones and view how content will render across devices, and tie together content for a uniform deployment. It’s a big win for both large and small publishers.
As a content reader, Currents excels. But like so many straight-A students, Currents lacks depth outside its single focus. It doesn’t surprise or delight with unexpected but relevant content. It doesn’t woo with social media that could captivate readers to linger. And for that reason, Currents may not appeal to audiences hungry for the entertainment so effortlessly delivered by Flipboard and its peers.
The reader experience: B. Stellar functionality, beautiful rendering, clean and effortless navigation. A fantastic news reader; but at the end of the day, it’s just that: a news reader. Lacks the pep and verve of a full-life-view reader.
The publisher experience: A. If your publication or feed is out there, it’s easy for users to find it. And self-publishing digital content is easy and seamless across Android and iOS platforms.