Google Currents Revamped With Breaking News, Now More Current Than Ever

By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 13, 2012 10:00 AM EST

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Google has revamped its Currents social news app to make it more "scannable," making it easier for users to find and browse content from multiple sources.

Competing with Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite, Google Currents is an aggregator of various publications displayed in a layout that gives the impression of reading a magazine rather than an RSS feed.

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The new version of Google Currents seems to focus on making new content more easily discoverable than anything else. In a blog post on Wednesday, Dec. 12, Google group product manager Mussie Shore explained that the Currents development team used "some of the technology behind Search" to deliver breaking news regarding celebrity scandals, high-profile negotiations, or the hottest trends.

Shore further listed a number of examples of how users can now scroll through new items that might suit their interests. For instance, Currents users can now scan through news categories, specific editions of various publications, or breaking news stories.

The new Currents update also aims to ensure that the app is optimized for any mobile device display, be it a smartphone or a tablet. Moreover, Currents' breaking news will now be customized based on the user's country and language so only relevant news pop up, added Shore.

According to Google, "millions of readers" have downloaded the app since it launched internationally in April. Furthermore, Currents now features more than 700 publisher editions, as well as "tens of thousands of self-produced editions."

"Make it even easier to scan through all your favorite categories and specific editions with just the swipe of a finger" is the goal behind the new Currents version. Instead of providing users with a list of sites to subscribe to, Currents now groups editions into categories such as tech, business, science, lifestyle, sports, etc.

Google's Currents app still highlights individual publishers and does not sport a river-of-news type of view, except the Breaking News category that is now available for every category.

The new and improved version also features a revamped design that looks more like the Google+ app, with stories set into boxes that slide onto the screen as the user scrolls down. The new Google Currents app is currently only available for Android, but an iOS version is on its way.

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