Google released an update to the news reader it hasn't abandoned today, adding a bunch of support for audio-centric features. Playlists are now available for editions that contain audio content, and users will be able to play, pause, and jump forward or backward in the playlist. There are even status bar controls added for when audio is playing, so you don't have to sit staring at a blank playback page while listening.

Here's the full change log:

What's in this version:

* Audio playlist for editions with audio
* Audio media bar in app for stop, start, next, previous
* Story scanner audio icons for launching Audio directly
* Status bar audio controls when Currents audio is playing
* Syncing post read state between devices
* Bug fixes

It sounds a lot like Google is gearing up to make Currents more than just a guided content scraper. The search giant wants the app to be a real contender for distribution platform. By giving producers the ability to control the presentation of their articles, videos, and now audio (potentially leading to better podcast distribution), it's nicer than ever. Oh, and it even syncs your reading position between devices. Just like that other product.

It's not going to make anyone less bitter about Reader's imminent demise, but it sure is an improvement.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    I'm sorry, I just can't trust Google right now with any of their current products. I look at Google Code and wonder if it's next on its list. Or maybe Blogger, or Google Analytics, or Feedburner.

    Google has certainly killed a lot of products in the past (Buzz, Notes, Wave, that weird not-a-Wiki thing, hell even Picasa was killed / Integrated with G+) but they've finally decided to kill a product many love, I'm reluctant to actually use another product (Google's or otherwise) that doesn't come with source code attached so I can roll my own once the company decides to kill the product :-/

    • barnassey thomas

      Exactly i feel the same way. Hell its getting to a point where im actually going to set up my rss server.

    • woj_tek

      and when someone was saying that this cloud doesn't have silver lining then they were calling that someone a crackpot... no, one can only count on desktop apps with local data (which *can* be synchronized do the cloud) or apps with source code that one can host on their own...

      • John O’Connor

        As sad as it is, and silver lining be damned, at least the Google cloud functions as an ACTUAL cloud and not like some of the other competitors out there who treat it as a glorified and hidden backup synching system where you cannot actually access your data.

        I am very wary of the direction we are heading in Cloud computing at the moment because we don't currently have ubiquitous and reliable infrastructure, data plans, coverage and any manner of technical issues resolved that will support an always-on readily available data connection regardless of geolocation.

  • RitishOemraw

    Great, I use currents all the time as my standard news source when not behind a computer.
    Now if only I had some use for these features (I don't have any podcasts I listen to)
    Hope to see it updated more and more!

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/moneta.mace Mace Moneta

    The problem with Google Currents is that it doesn't scale and doesn't have a web-based version. Currents works fine if you have a handful of feeds. Try a hundred feeds with over a thousand updates and Currents is useless. That's where Google Reader excelled, allowing rapid processing of large amounts of information.

    Add a list-like text mode to Currents with 'mark all read' capability in conjunction with a web-based app with synchronized view, and you basically have Google Reader. So why get rid of it?

    If Google Currents isn't going to scale, why bother? It will just die like the other 'low usage' applications.

    • John O’Connor

      I am still of sound mind that although we are losing Reader (semi-cringe), we may see all of its utility neatly wrapped up and merged into another product such as Current.

      Clearly something big is coming at IO if we are seeing the doors shuttered on Reader pre-conference, and a lot of emphasis, updates and leaks on Currents potential.

      The one major (upcoming) product I am on the fence about is Babble at the moment. I don't necessarily like the term, but it would be a major plus if it consolidates all Google messaging, chat, video, VOIP and communications apps.

  • woj_tek

    yay! updated current and... it's still a useless piece of shaite...

    • Bleakvision

      Yeah, I'm afraid that grandfathered free Google Apps accounts may be somewhere on this list.

      • John O’Connor

        Not so soon AFAIK.... But if you make any major changes which alter the scope of your grandfathered Apps account, you may have to convert to a new offering. This is really status quo with all major companies now. I still have a grandfathered GApps or two that I use as a daily driver for all things work related. If and when that is subject to change of course I will have to bite the bullet considering the competitions prices and the pain inherent in platform migration.

    • John O’Connor

      That was my conclusion as well, although given what is coming out of the Gverse (plus the rumors) these days, this may reach its potential and become the fully functional product we are all waiting for.

    • Joaquim Santos

      Yeah, but i spend some time everyday using currents... just like when i go to the bathroom to shit lol
      currents is was nice! if you don't use dont flame it for no reason... give us a reason!

      • woj_tek

        I have a rule that I'm bashing things only after I try them (like twilight ;p) thus I've tried currents and no, it's useless for my "flow", even in those situations where i just want to quickly catch up on the news - reader is still gazilion times better...

  • Mikey_H

    Is there any way to share what you are reading to another app? I rarely use currents due to this...

    • Carlos Sarthou

      There's a share button, yeah. I usually have it set to Pocket by default. The only thing that irritates me about Currents is that they took away the ability to open what you're reading in a browser with the last UI update.

  • andyr354

    I still never use it.

    • ddpacino

      You oughta give it a try. It's really awesome, especially after the last big UI update.

  • Clay S.



  • br_hermon

    I tried Currents after the Reader announcement. But I found Feedly serve my purposes better...

    • ddpacino

      Yea, Current's isn't much of a bonafide RSS reader. Feedly is, and it presents those articles so beautifully.

  • ddpacino

    THIS is why Reader was killed.

  • Marcus

    I find it hard to want to use Currents as it doesn't support a few RSS feeds I like - "Visual News" being one. What is the "other" product mentioned which syncs between devices? Does anyone have a good RSS reader they can recommend?