Social news reader Flipboard will soon be officially released for the Android platform. Long popular on iPhones, Flipboard’s impending release has caused an unusually high level of buzz and anticipation.
However, for all the hype over Flipboard, it’s by far not the only news reader for Android with social features built-in. As a matter of fact, a strong group of apps have been available for over a year. Most offer the ability to view news stories posted by your Facebook and Twitter friends. All allow you to share stories in various ways, and some even function as their own social networks.
Channelcaster offers the ability to create “channels,” which are groups of news sources. For instance, I created a “Games” channel with my favorite video game blogs. By selecting this channel, I can view gaming news from my favorite publications; I don’t need to switch from one feed to another. Channelcaster also offers the ability to share your channels with others and to browse through existing channels to find ones you might like.
Like Channelcaster, Taptu also offers ways to collect related sites and share those collections with others. In this case, the groups are called “streams,” and you can search through public streams in the app’s Streamstore. Taptu also offers the ability to create feeds based upon keyword searches, much in the way Google Alerts works. Finally, you can also search for topics within the contents of a particular stream, so you can limit a search for “diablo 3” to high quality gaming sites.
Pulse presents news stories as a beautiful mosaic, using thumbnail images as links to stories. My husband and I loved the look of the app on our T-Mobile LG cell phones and our Android tablet. Like the others, you can add your social media accounts such as Facebook to Pulse. This way, you’ll see stories your friends have shared and you can easily share stories yourself on social networks. Finally, Pulse has a unique, built-in catalog of blogs and other news sources you can subscribe to.
Flud is perhaps the news reader that most acts like its own social network. While you can elect to read stories from third-party social media sites, you can also find and follow members of Flud. You’ll see the stories they read and share. Flud presents story previews more or less one-at-a-time. Some people may like this cleaner, less busy approach to finding news stories. And as a bonus, you can also manage and view your news through its website.
Google Currents has less of a social feel than the other news readers, but it’s still a remarkable app. For this app, Google teamed up with major publications like the Huffington Post. You can search the Currents directory of publications to subscribe to the ones you like, in addition to importing your RSS feeds. Plus, you can view trending stories by topic and keyword. If you’d rather view stories from one news source at a time, Google Currents is your best bet.