updated 11:40 pm EDT, Thu September 15, 2011
Google Propeller curates news on multiple tablets
Google is crafting its own alternative to Flipboard, Zite, and other curated news apps for tablets, tipsters divulged Thursday. Nicknamed Propeller, details are vague but would make it a rare cross-platform app, serving both Android and iPad users. Not much is known about what it does from AllThingsD's source, but Rackspace's Robert Scoble understood that it's "mind-blowing good."
The app is understood to be one part of a larger campaign of social apps and other related content. Propeller's exact reason for being isn't known, although it may have mutually beneficial elements for Google's mobile and social efforts. At a minimum, it would likely help with use of +1 and Google+ for sharing favorite articles, both with the general web and with friend circles.
It may also fill a wide gap in Android's app portfolio. With the exception of occasional ports such as Pulse, Android tablets have often been cut out of the hot curated tablet news app space. Flipboard is currently an iPad exclusive and will only eventually reach Android.
Google is believed to have tried snapping up Flipboard in 2010, just as it was developing its reputation and became Apple's iPad app of the year. It reportedly told Flipboard that it would compete in the space whether or not an acquisition went through.