Flipboard has long been considered the best social and news reader app on the iPad, and they haven’t announced any plans to come to Android, or at least not any time soon. So Google decided to buy them last year. But they rejected Google’s offer, so obviously Google decided to build their own app instead for Android tablets and smartphones (and probably for iOS later, too).
Robert Scoble posted this on Google+ earlier:
“I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad,” posted Scoble. “My source says that the versions he’s seen so far are mind-blowing good.”
There is already a very good news reader app in the Android market right now that is free, and it’s called Pulse. I’ve been loving it since it first appeared, and I find the experience much better than using a regular RSS reader app. It’s very intuitive and well thought out. I figure that Propeller, which is the internal name for Google’s upcoming app would provide good competition to Pulse, and I might switch to it if I like it more.
Propeller will probably tie into Google+ only (and maybe Twitter), and it should end up making the Google+ more popular as well. The more Google services and apps that are popular tie into Google+, the more it should get used as people’s main social network, so this is a good strategy for Google.
Publishers will be able to package their content for the app, right from their browser, through a dedicated web app, where they will be able to choose what kind of layouts and devices they want to target. They will also be able to inject Adsense ad units into Propeller editions to monetize their content. They will also be able to charge a small fee per article, and collect it via Google Checkout.
From what I hear, Propeller should be an exciting offering not only for normal users, who want to enjoy reading the latest news on their tablet, but also for publishers, who are offered an advanced back-end system for managing and monetizing their content. We might hear more about it in the coming weeks.