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Google launches Currents reading app on mobile devices

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Google Search Engine

© Rex Features

Google has announced plans to join the growing number of packaged digital content providers with a newsstand-style app for mobile devices.

The service, called Google Currents, works as a reading app for accessing reputable online news sources on Android devices, along with Apple's iPad and iPhone.

Google has worked with more than 150 publishing partners to offer more than 180 different news sources, including CNET, AllThingsD, Forbes, Saveur, PBS and Huffington Post, on the service.

Users can read one publication, while also being prompted about other featured stories from multiple sources on the home page. They can also browse categories of general news topics.

All content is optimised for smartphones and tablets, allowing users to navigate between words, pictures and video on large and small screens, on or offline.

To get started, users must download the Currents app and then select the publications they want, either free or subscription-based titles. They can add RSS, video and photo feeds, along with any Google Reader subscriptions that they are already following.

Google Currents is fully integrated with Google+, the new Google-operated social network that went public in September, although the lack of support for other social media services such as Facebook and Twitter seems a shame.

In a blog post, Google announced that Currents will also feature a publishing platform enabling media sources, both large and small, to bring content to Currents.

"Alongside Google Currents, we're also launching a self-service platform that gives publishers the flexibility to design, brand and customise their web content," said the firm.

"For example, if you're a small regional news outlet, a non-profit organisation without access to a mobile development team, or a national TV network with web content, you can effortlessly create hands-on digital publications for Google Currents."

Google Currents will compete with Flipboard, one of the most popular applications on the iPad, as well as Zite, which is owned by Time Warner.

Yahoo also released a similar reading service called Livestand last month, while Apple introduced the Newsstand feature to iTunes this autumn.

Watch a video introducing Google Currents below:

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