Crosstown Digital Communications

Get Caught Up in Google Currents

A couple weeks ago, Google joined the mobile content app party by introducing Google Currents, an app for Android and iOS devices that presents publisher content in a mobile-friendly, magazine-style format. Currents comes on the heels of popular apps like Flipboard, which offer the user (especially the tablet user) a slick content browsing experience.

As Matthew Clobridge points out in writing for edSocialMedia, the Currents self-service Producer allows any publisher to have their content show up alongside other mainstream publications.

What this means for schools is that when our community members are reading their morning news via Currents, our up-to-date school news is included without the need for the user to go to another app.

I set up an edition for Crosstown, featuring this blog as well as the In Transit Tumblr site, and it only took about 10 minutes. 10,000 Words offers a walkthrough of how to create your own customized Google Currents edition using the Currents producer. You can include news content, YouTube videos, Flickr/Picasa photo feeds and other social content feeds (defaulting to Google+, of course — there’s also built in Google+ integration for sharing content with select circles). The Chronicle’s ProfHacker recently reviewed the app.

According to Pew data cited by 10,000 Words, 53 percent of tablet owners are daily news consumers. They are also inclined to discover new news sources and spend more time engaging with news content. However, as the same research indicates, tablet ownership does not preclude news consumption via the browser. In fact, the browser still rules the day.

But for a small investment of time up front, you could stake a claim in an emerging news landscape. First, consider the value. Think about your audience. According to your own research and that from organizations such as Pew, are they likely to own and use tablets or mobile apps for browsing news? Then, think about your content. Does the substance and publishing schedule make sense for this format? What array of feeds and sources would you build in, and why?

If you think it could be beneficial given both of those considerations, set up Currents, promote it, plug in your Google Analytics tracking code and see what happens.

Leave a Reply