Google Currents is a new mobile centric curation tool released from Google. (Not yet available outside of the U.S. although I managed to get around it with Market Enabler. ) According to the Google mobile blog – Content on Currents is optimized solely for smartphones and tablets, allowing you to intuitively navigate between words, pictures and video on large and small screens alike, even if you’re offline. You can also use the trending tab to discover what is hot on the web across a variety of subjects. Once installed, the Google Currents application is the vehicle on which your content is delivered.
It also comes coupled with a pretty interesting application for publishers and content curators alike, ‘Google Currents Producer‘. At its heart it allows you to curate topics around your favourite subjects, from around the web in multiple formats. For example, at the moment you can pull together a magazine which contains content sourced from RSS feeds, integrate with articles published on Google Docs, write your own material inside the Google Currents platform and include Photos sourced from Flickr, Picasa or any mediaRss supported feed. You can also bring together social updates from Google+ and include videos you have curated on your YouTube channel.
Currents Producer provides some pretty powerful filtering controls for your content sources that let you exclude or include content as you see fit, and with support for #hashtags from within Google+ you can also easily publish existing curated content that you’ve already created into relevant sections.
The producer application also provides a web based front end for organising your content and testing on simulators for tablets and mobile devices including iPad, Android and iPhone. Once you’ve published your magazine, you can provide you audience with a Google currents URL that they can visit to receive the content you have brought together in a mobile ready format, and hook up your Google Analytics tracking code to keep an eye on traffic and adoption for those of you who are data hungry.
Such an initiative also provides Google with a wealth of data, not least for the human element in algorithms that try to assertain topically similar content and links – a problem which curation perfectly solves.
Google Currents is a publishing platform in its own right that gives all levels of users the ability to add value, and taps into the growing trend of content curation on the web.
Although it has serious competition from the likes of Flipboard and Zite, with the massive technical gap between sites which exist solely for desktop browsing, and the mobile web continuing to grow, it makes sense for Google to provide a solution that not only provides for this trend but also taps into the massive growth in content curation. In many ways it provides an efficient way of bringing together content which exists across many Google properties, and provides it in a mobile ready format.