Google just launched an update to Google Currents, the company’s Flipboard competitor, that makes it easier to scan through categories and editions from Google publisher partners like The Guardian and Forbes in the app. In addition, Google says it brought some of its search technology to the app to power its breaking news sections.
Google says “millions of readers” have downloaded the app since it launched internationally in April, and Currents now features more than 700 publisher editions and “tens of thousands of self-produced editions.”
According to Google, the goal behind the new version was to “make it even easier to scan through all your favorite categories and specific editions with just the swipe of a finger.” To do so, the app now groups editions into categories instead of just giving you a list of sites you subscribe to (think categories, such as lifestyle, business, science and tech, and sports).
The app still emphasizes individual publishers and doesn’t feature a river-of-news kind of view — with the exception of the Breaking News category that’s now available for every category — but this new approach makes the app significantly more fun to use.
The app now also features a tweaked design that’s more like the Google+ app, with stories that are set into boxes that smoothly slide onto the screen as you scroll down.
The other interesting update in this new version is the fact that Google now uses “some of the technology behind Search” to power the breaking news sections in the app. Google isn’t talking about the technical details behind this, but the company notes that “breaking stories are customized to your country and language—so we’ll only show you relevant news.”
The earliest versions of Currents were, to be honest, a bit of a letdown given the competition the company faces from beautiful mobile apps like Flipboard and smart services like Zite. Now, however, Currents actually looks very good and is yet another testament to the fact that Google is slowly learning how to do good design.
The new app is now available for Android and should be out for iOS in the near future, too.