Ghacks readers from the United States may have already come into contact with Google Currents, Google's news aggregation service for mobile devices. Back then Google the Currents app for Android and iOS devices allowed users to read publications on those mobile devices.
Google yesterday announced the international availability of Currents, and an upgrade to Google Currents 1.1 that improves the app's synchronization capabilities. Another new feature is the integration of Google Translate, which readers can use to translate news, so that it is now possible to keep taps on foreign news even if you do not speak the language. And while computer generated translations still do not come close to proper human translations, they usually provide enough information to understand what's being said.
Interested users can download Google Currents on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Website and YouTube channel owners can furthermore add their site as a publication to Google Currents. This is done on the Google Currents Producer page, which can only be accessed in Google Chrome and only if a Google account is available.
Creating an edition should not pose a problem to most webmasters. You basically have to give it a name, and add a RSS feed or YouTube channel name to it to get started. Those are optional on the other hand.
When you click Create and then Done, you are taken to the admin dashboard where you can make additional changes to the publication before it is published.This includes a preview of how the publication's contents may look like on all supported devices, and options to make your edition stand out by adding an icon and a splash image, selecting an appropriate category or user configuring user and usage info collection.
Sections lets you add new sections to the publication. This includes social updates, photos, or articles from Google Docs, or Epub or HTML documents.
Distribute finally lets you test the publication on Android and iOS devices, select whether you'd like to make it available to a worldwide audience or limit access to a specific country or region, and select the primary language of the publication.
Webmasters also need to verify content ownership, which can be done only if the domain the external content is hosted on has been verified at Google Webmaster Central.
A click on Publish publishes the new publication. Google Currents displays a link pointing to that publication under Publish afterwards, which you need to distribute manually first.
When you first publish an edition, you'll be shown a URL which you can distribute. Ask your readers to install Google Currents and then access this link on their iPhone, iPad, or Android device in order to directly subscribe to your edition. When a reader opens the link in their mobile browser, they'll see a simple page describing the edition. They can tap the blue button labeled Read in Google Currents to open the edition in the Currents app and start enjoying your content.
Once a publication reaches 200 subscribers, it will be accessible in search results based on the edition's name and description. Google may also promote exceptional publications within Google Currents.
Google Currents is not that different from reading RSS feeds. It is more versatile for publishers in some regards, for instance by allowing them to combine RSS with YouTube and social updates in one publication. Users who are already reading RSS on their mobile devices on the other hand won't benefit that much from Currents in its current form.
Content producers may gain readership once they break the 200 subscribers mark. It is likely that monetization options will be added at a later time to Currents, which might increase income that a website generates. Then again, Currents may also keep users away from the site, just like RSS does.
Have you installed the Google Currents app yet? If so, what is your impression so far?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.