Google has launched Currents, its long-anticipated social reading platform for Android and iOS. The platform gives consumers access to 180 digital publications while giving publishers a self-service platform with integrated analytics.
Details on the product began leaking in September, and the product has been undergoing testing since well before that time. Previously dubbed Propeller (and tested extensively under that name), the product has been promising to serve as a Flipboard competitor that's available in the Android environment.
The launch features "more than 150 publishing partners to offer full-length articles from more than 180 editions," according to the Google Mobile Blog post announcing Currents. Many of the editions look to be free of charge. Readers can also set up their RSS, video, and image feeds; stream in content shared on Google+; or view their Google Reader subscriptions through the platform.
For consumers, Currents serves as the first major competitor to Flipboard that will be available on the Android platform; Flipboard has remained available only to iPad users. Currents is now available for free to U.S. customers on both Android and iOS devices.
Publishers, meanwhile, get a self-service platform that gives "the flexibility to design, brand and customize their web content." While publishers can already integrate with Google Analytics, the best features may be just on the horizon. According to 9 to 5 Google, publishers will soon be able to integrate Google AdSense monetization to their content and use the platform to get contact information for subscribers.
Google seems to be focusing much of its new product efforts into the tablet environment. The company recently introduced some aesthetic updates for their search app, and just yesterday unveiled new ad formats for tablets.
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