September 23, 2014 Last Updated 1:20 pm

Currents, Google’s competitor to Flipboard, is rebranded as Google Play Newsstand

The search giant Google has rebranded its competitor to Flipboard, Currents, as Google Play Newsstand in the Apple App Store. One wonders if Apple, when the App Store was properly moderated, if Apple would have allowed Google to introduce an app with the word “Newsstand” in it. But today anything goes in the App Store and so Google now has its own “Newsstand” app for iOS.

GooglePlayNewsstand-iPadCurrent, the old Google app, never really caught on as iOS device owners didn’t see the need for another aggregation app, what with Flipboard and Zite available.

The new app has been redesigned, with new main categories of content: Highlights, News, Business, Entertainment, Sports, Technology and World. Major media brands such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times and others are promoted up front. Readers can, of course, customize their experience.

Whether these types of aggregated, personal magazines have any benefits for the media brands has long been debated. The benefits to the app makers are obvious, but does the NYT actually gain much by having their content available through the app?

Maybe. In theory, the app does present the reader with a paywall when the media property requires it, though I’m not sure the mechanism actually works as several brands continued to say I had access to the maximum number of articles even after I had accessed several already.

The look of the app is that of the typical mobile app, with a one-column design even on an iPad in landscape orientation.

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