Devotees of all things Google will be happy to have the relatively new universal Google Currents onboard their iDevice, but for my money, although the app is serviceable, it can’t compete with the beauty found in Flipboard.
Google Currents is easy to set up, requiring only that you log in to the app with your Google account. You’ll find several content sources preloaded, and you can customize the rest of your “magazine” experience with feeds from the library, which seems to be growing daily. You can also add sources that currently exist in your Google Reader, but these feeds won’t feel like the “native” sources in Currents.
Google Currents is free, so if you already have an account, there’s no investment in giving this app a try. It’s clear that Flipboard has spoiled me; Currents’ UI feels clunky and its standard swiping is a step backward for those already in sync with the flipping available in Flipboard for iPhone. Moving among sections calls for heavy use of the clunky in-app “Home” button, and with story lengths falling on the shorter side (not Currents’ fault), users will find themselves in a sea of white space.
Speed issues abound — this app is seriously slow — but at least once fully synced Currents allows for offline reading. This, of course, doesn’t apply to further reading links. Sharing options are plentiful, including support for Pinboard and Tumblr along with the usual suspects.
Google Currents is an adequate effort, but since the app isn’t providing anything new — and certainly nothing better — over its competitors, it’s one you can feel comfortable avoiding at present.