Google Currents is the Google’s answer to the popular social magazine app – Flipboard. In short, it is a simple and elegant mobile app that you can use to read online publication on your iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Before today, Google Currents is only available for US citizens, but from now on, everyone can download the app and use it on your mobile devices. If you are a web publisher, this is a good news for you, as you have another means to increase the exposure of your brand.
How Google Currents work?
Instead of subscribing to RSS feeds like any other RSS feed reader, Google Currents allows you to subscribe to publication. Each publication is just like a magazine and can make up of blog posts, videos, images, Google Plus update or any other stuff that the publisher wishes to place in the publication. When you first start the app, you should be already subscribed to a few default publication, like Fast Company, Forbes and so on. You can tap on the “Add More” button and subscribe to publications from various categories.
Once you have subscribed to your favorite publications, you can set it to sync in the background at regular interval, so it will always be populated with the latest content. In addition, you can also get it to download the images and content and read it offline.
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How to create your own publication?
Let’s say you are a web publisher and you wish to get onto the Google Currents platform and enable readers to subscribe to your publication. The only problem is, how do you create a publication without any technical coding knowledge? Google Currents Producer is the answer. It is an online publishing service (provided by Google) that allows you to publish your own edition/publication without any coding knowledge. All you need to know is a few mouse clicks, and where to locate your site’s RSS feed URL.
1. Go to Google Currents Producer. You need to be on Google Chrome and sign in to your Google account. Once you are logged in, the first thing to appear is the Publisher Agreement. You will need to read through it (supposedly, but I don’t think you will, right?) and agree to it.
2. On the next screen, you will be prompted to enter the name of your edition and the RSS feed of your site. If you are running a video site on YouTube, you can add the channel name as well.
3. Once you click the “Create” button, it will start to pull articles from your site and compile them into a magazine format. At this stage, the barebone of your publication is ready and you can publish it anytime to make it live.
At the main screen, there are plenty of options for you to customize the look and feel of your edition. The first part is the Edition Settings. This is where you can change the name, category, icon, splash image of your edition, and whether to collect email address from the reader and track its performance using Google Analytic.
The sections is the important feature of Google Currents as it allows you to add content to your publication. You can add feed(s), upload articles from Google Docs, pull photos from Flickr, Picasa or the web, YouTube channel, and even update on your Google Plus account. There are plenty of content you can add here to make your publication interesting, so be creative.
If you are proficient in CSS, you can go to “Sections -> Blogs -> Section Template” and edit the stylesheet of your publication look-and-feel.
The “Grant Access” section allows you to grant permission to others to manage your edition.
At any point of time, once you have made an update, you can click on the Android, Tablet, iPhone or iPad link to check how your publication looks like in each device. You can even rotate it to check the landscape view.
Lastly, after you have completed all the configurations and are happy with the result, go to the “Distribute -> Publish” section and click the “Publish” button.
That’s it. Your site publication is now live!
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