Google Currents review

Google Currents main page

This is the Currents main page.

Google Currents is…

I’ve been using Google Currents for a while now, and if you are familiar with Instapaper, Read It Later (now Pocket), Flipboard, and other magazine subscriptions, Currents is rather similar. Currents is essentially a subscription service for various online publications. The image you see at the top is the main page, which shows your library of subscriptions. As you can see mine are heavily tech-oriented. Besides the library page, you have the trending page:

Google Currents trending page

This is the trending page of Currents

Trending pages are exactly what it sounds like, it showcases popular topics and links you up to different publications that have covered the topics. In the settings you can choose which category to show under your trending topics:

Google Currents Trending Page

Choose which trending topics you would like to see

It looks…

Personally I think that the interface is fantastic. Currents feels really intuitive and easy to use. It has a clean and sleek interface, much like the other products by Google. The icons at the bottom of the screen are, from left to right, Settings, Share, Search.

You can tweak it…

In the settings page, you can manually Sync your editions. This updates your library to the latest articles available.

Google Currents settings page

Handle all the little tweaks here

A very handy tool is the Include images settings. Here you can choose to enable image sync for all editions, first ten editions, custom selections or none at all. So if you are tied down by high data charges you might prefer to not sync images at all.

Choose editions to sync

Choose your settings for syncing images

The way I use sync is that every night before I sleep or every morning before the leaving home for work, I will sync completely, so during breaks and lunch I’ll have the latest articles to read. I do this because I do not have data plan or wireless at work.

You can share it…

You can see under the Sharing sections you can choose the services you wish to share

Google Currents sharing service selection

Choose how you would like to share your articles

Here you can choose which sharing options are displayed in main menu (the sharing button in your library page), and options include Email, Facebook, Google+ (wondering why they placed this option below Facebook), Instapaper, Pinboard, Read It Later (now Pocket), Tumblr or Twitter. Sadly there is no WordPress option.

Google Currents sharing features

You can quickly share the articles you have read to other services you use

You can search it…

Of course, with any products by Google, you can only expect Search to be a prominent feature. The search option for Currents helps u find subscriptions that you might be interested in

Google Currents library search page

Here you can look for subscriptions

Not only can you search for feeds online, you can browse through recommendations by Google, most of which are really good, and look at the different categories you are interested in. (Obviously I found most of my subscriptions through the Tech channel).

Google Currents library search page

You can add your own RSS subscriptions too

One thing I love about Currents is the seamless integration with Google Reader. Before Currents was out, I was getting my daily dose of news via Reader, where I subscribe to a whole list of publications, including world news, Singapore news, Sports, Games, and of course, Tech news. Now I can easily bring my subscriptions over to Currents!

Integrate your RSS…

A thing to note is that usually, RSS feeds in Reader are truncated. So when you import your feeds into Currents, they are not the entire article, and if you wish to look at the whole piece, you need an Internet connection, which I usually lack if I’m on Currents. Nonetheless its a good feature because it lets me peek into the article, if I wish to read the entire piece, I would just share the piece via Email. And when I reach home and hooks up to the wireless, I can check my email to see a reminder to read this awesome article that I’ve seen.

There is an interesting option called Curator. They are people who have a list of subscriptions and if you subscribe to them, you follow their list. I have not tried this one out and I doubt I will. I just don’t like my libraries being messed up. You can go ahead and try though! I’m just happy with my current selections.

The Verdict?

Based on looks alone, Currents is really pretty, really clean, really sleek. I can’t imagine anyone not liking the interface. With a great interface, using it is naturally easy too. Things are where you want them, quick search, quick sharing, quick Next Article option. Fantastic. The settings are little, but sufficient. They don’t bloat you with options to tweak the font color and font size, but offer you settings that make sense like which image syncing options.

Google Currents is here to stay for me. Its quick and convenient for on-the-move doses of news. And if I eventually get data plan I’ll be able to get instant updates. But right now its an indispensable supplement to Reader.

(Disclaimer: I do not work for Google, though I would definitely like to, and this review is after 3-weeks of daily interaction and usage of Google Currents)

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