updated 03:40 pm EST, Thu December 8, 2011
Google Currents already active
Possibly reacting to a last-minute leak, Google has already released its curated news app. Google Currents for iOS (App Store) and Android (Market) takes articles from a mix of technology and general interest sites, such as Forbes and the Huffington Post, and optimizes them either for the smartphone or tablet size. Readers can subscribe to get routine updates, including regular RSS feeds, Google Reader subscriptions, and Google+ feeds.
Google+ ties in deeper through sharing, where users can appropriately share either whole articles or individual videos.
The company hopes to counter Flipboard by letting publishers tune their own content. Its new Producer system lets smaller outlets create layouts themselves without having to strike special deals or have app development experience. Content designers can optionally tie into Google Analytics to figure out what and how users are reading.
Apps are so far limited to the US.
The existence of Currents may confirm rumors that Google tried to buy Flipboard in 2010. Google was supposedly jealous of the then iPad-only app's influence on tablet share and had threatened to make a competitor if Flipboard didn't agree to a deal. Android has considerably fewer curated news apps, and many developers haven't opted to go cross-platform.