Google Currents: Riding the wave of information while getting fat.

Google Currents as seen on my HP Touchpad

Currents as it is known is Google’s newest application software for the tablet and smart phones. Working much like their RSS feed programs, Currents takes RSS feeds essentially and puts it into a very nice GUI that’s slick and works fluidly between your tablets and phones. All you need (as oftentimes) is a Gmail address (surprise surprise, Google, Gmail).

For those who haven’t tried it, might I point you to Google’s official video of Currents:

Once you download the app from Android Marketplace (free), you just sign in with a Gmail address. They do not send you any emails from using Currents, it’s more or less just to link your Currents selections so you can take it from one device to another. I find that feature extremely useful (considering that on Marketplace itself, they won’t let you save your app preferences. If you have that same problem, download Appbrain to save your app lists).

Currents itself has very simple setting options (something I am not quite fond of), simple and limiting. Clicking on the gear on the lower left hand corner, you would see four options:

  • Accounts – Where you choose which Gmail account you want to associate your Currents with
  • Text size – For those who feel they have the eyes of an eagle (can read small), and well, my eyes (need size 72 font)
  • Sync settings – You have a few choices in how you wish for Currents to sync. These are options for those that are still… paying for their data separately.
    Sync in background – You can choose between Wifi, 3G/4G, and Wifi/3G/4G
    – Disabled – Kind of… useless if you want Currents (although it makes sense, if you’re paying for your data so you would sync manually whenever you want)
    – Wifi – Only syncs when tablet/smartphone is connected to your home router or free wifi hotspot
    – 3G/4G – For those who have a plan with their carrier separate from their phone’s internet (or tethering via phone would apply here too)
    – Wifi/3G/4G – Connects and syncs regardless of connection choice
  • Sync frequency – Choose how often you want Currents to update. I wish they had more options other than 6, 12, or 24 hours. I like everything constantly updating like a live stream. Unfortunately I have to keep force syncing just to get everything by the minute.
  • Sync images (Library) – Regardless, you should keep it on anything but “disabled” purely for the fact that you like everyone, enjoy looking at mini pictures while you read.
  • Sync images (Trending) – Read above.
  • Sync when charging – You can check yes, or no to that.

Once you’re done customizing your settings, you can start choosing what Currents you want to read!
Just press the giant “+” symbol and it would take you to a page where you can choose by topics. They will also show some featured Currents depending on topic that you would like. Also, manually delete the Currents that they have listed already on your page (they are only page holders and not the full Currents themselves).

If you can’t find anything that you want, you can always just search for it. Type in your query and see what turns up. Most likely it will be an RSS feeds, which works just as well as Currents will automatically “snazz” it up (their words).

 

Google snazzes it up for us.

RSS feed turned to Current

Instead of having a while page of texts and links, Currents turned something unappealing to a page from a magazine.

For a fledgling application, Google seems to have created a winner with Currents. With the rise of tablet usage, people do not like looking at simple interfaces. Having a slick GUI makes all the difference when you want to spend time reading multiple websites. I think it may even be better than going to the websites themselves.

Also, before I discount the greatness that is Currents, I have tried the website’s individual readers (e.g.: Times, Gawker) and they just cannot compare to having multiple sources all in one app. You waste less space in application installation and you have everything you want to read in one.

Google Currents:

Yay!

  • Multiple sources in one application
  • Slick, fluid GUI
  • Easily taken between devices

Nay!

  • Sync options too limited
  • You have to use a Gmail account
  • Sometimes syncing takes forever/doesn’t go through
  • Images are shown as thumbnails and when clicking to enlarge, gives you a slightly bigger thumbnail

Although the Nays have outnumbered the Yays barely by one, it still is a great program to use and consequently waste your time reading. By stating that in my last sentence, now my title header makes sense. I’ll let you think about the fat factor that comes about while reading Currents.

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