Google has updated its mobile magazine publishing platform Google Currents with a new version already available on Android devices (and coming very soon to iOS.
This new release showcases a fresh layout for images and text and new ways to scan through content and breaking stories that easily adapts to any type of mobile device screen.
From the Google Android official site: "We’re now grouping editions into categories to help you keep track of your existing subscriptions and discover new ones. Check out editions related to your interests through categories like Entertainment, Sports, Lifestyle and more.
We’ve also made it easy to quickly browse through top articles from all your favorite editions in a category—just swipe horizontally. If you subscribe to more than a dozen News editions like The Atlantic, ABC News and The Telegraph, you can quickly swipe through the entire
category and dive into editions with articles of interest."
Robin Good: If you are interested i understanding how most people utilize and move between the use of their smartphone or tablet, to their desktops or TV screens and viceversa, this elegantly illustrated feature by Google, will definitely provide you with some new insight and some relevant data.
"Today 90% of our media consumption occurs in front of a screen. As consumers balance their time between smartphones, tablets, PCs and Televisions, they are learning to use these devices together to achieve their goals."
"...some insights from our latest research:
-> 90% of consumers begin a task on one device and then complete it on another device.
-> Smartphones are by far the most common starting point for this sequential activity.
-> TV no longer commands our full attention.
-> TV strategy should be closely aligned and integrated with the marketing strategies for digital devices.
In essence: "While consumers are using more than one device simultaneously, content viewed on one device can trigger specific behavior on the other.
Businesses should therefore not limit their conversion goals and calls to action to only the device where they were initially displayed."
Recommended. Both for the info as well as for its presentation and design approach. 9/10
Robin Good: The RWD Bookmarklet is a very useful and effective tool that allows you to test the display of any web page (even if it is only on your computer) on most smartphone and tablet display screens.
How it works: Go to this page http://responsive.victorcoulon.fr/ drag the bookmarklet onto your browser bookmarks bar and then open a new tab where you load up the web page you want to test. Then click on the bookmarklet and you are ready to go.
Robin Good: MIT App Inventor is a visual web app that allows you to code and test Android apps without needing to write a line of code.
"MIT App Inventor, originally conceived and built out of Google Labs, democratizes app creation for Android smartphones. In this video, you'll see just how easy it is to create a simple app with MIT App Inventor."
From the official site: "Creating an App Inventor app begins in your browser, where you design how the app will look.
Then, like fitting together puzzle pieces, you set your app's behavior. All the while, through a live connection between your computer and your phone, your app appears on your phone.
You can build many different types of apps with App Inventor. You can build apps that inform and educate. You can create a quiz app to help you and your classmates study for a test. With Android's text-to-speech capabilities, you can even have the phone ask the questions aloud.
To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a professional developer. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app's behavior."
Robin Good: While many are rushing to build their first native app, many publishers are starting to choose web-native HTML5-based solutions which work across all devices.
From the article intro: "A couple weeks ago, MIT Technology Review's editor in chief and publisher Jason Pontin wrote a piece about killing their app and optimizing their website for all devices with HTML5.
That same week, Lonely Planet's Jani Patokallio predicted that HTML5 would nudge out the various ebook formats."
Robin Good: If you are working to optimize or design your web site for proper display on mobile screens, tablets and smartphone devices this test control page will be able to provide you wirh an immediate check up on how you will content will look across differently sized mobile screens.
Just type the URL of your web site and your page will be displayed immediately at 240/320/480/768/1024 pixel-width sizes in one long horizontal screen.
The service is free to use and requires no registration.
Robin Good: Finally Google Currents is available internationally allowing thousands of independent publishers outside of the US to tap into the simplicity and power of this mobile publishing system.
From the official Google Mobile blog: "After the U.S. launch, the top features readers requested were to make the app available internationally and to allow content to sync quickly.
We’ve heard you, and today we’re making Google Currents 1.1 available around the world.
Hundreds of U.S. editions are now readable in your preferred language with a new publisher-selected translation feature, and local publishers can begin adding their content to the catalog through Google Currents Producer.
With this update, we’ve made Google Currents available globally, wherever apps are available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. International publishers, using Google Currents Producer, can now begin adding local content for an international audience, choosing where to make it available globally and whether to enable auto-translation.
Read in your favorite language
To help you enjoy content in your preferred language, we’ve integrated Google Translate into Google Currents. Just press the globe icon while reading an edition, and you can automatically translate that edition to one of 38 supported languages."
Stampy is a new, iPad-based web publishing platform, which allows to create simple and professionaly-looking multi-page web publications with maximum ease.
A Stamp is the unit of content you create on Stampsy and it is equivalent to a "page" or "screen". A Stamp can have up to 10 pages.
Embedded design intelligence: Inside a stamp you can freely place text and images leveraging an integrated background grid which helps you create always well-balanced designs. You can also change font style, colors, and the number of columns used in the page layout.
Fonts come in carefully selected pairs and in a range of sizes to make Stamps look "professional" no matter what you do with them.
Final "stamps" are published directly to the web, and can be immediately shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Ideal for art galleries, profiles, image portfolios and other visual-based short showcases.
Robin Good: Soundgecko is a new web service which allows you to convert any RSS feed or web article into a MP3 audio file that can be downloaded and listened to on your iPhone (Android and Windows Phone versions coming soon).
From the official site: "SoundGecko is a text-to-audio transcribing service that lets you enjoy written content from around the web"
"With a SoundGecko subscription, stay up-to-date with the latest articles from you favorite blogs and websites RSS feeds by listening to them. Also send your PDF documents and more."
"Connect your Google Drive or Dropbox account and get MP3 audio files sent straight to your cloud drive so you can listen at home."
The free service account allows for 30 articles per month and one RSS feed, with no PDF support. The Plus plan at $4.95 offers a max of 100 articles read per month, 6 RSS feeds and PDF support.
A Pro account costs $7.95/month and it offers conversion of 300 articles, 30 RSS feeds and full support for PDF and DOC documents.
Robin Good: Webr is a new iOS app for your iPhone, which allows you to rapidly create web sites, with your preferred text, images and blog pages, without having any technical knowledge.
Finished websites may not look that great on your desktop computer, but they do look super ok on any iPhone device.
From the appadvice.com review: "...Once you’ve added the content you would like, it’s time to select what the overall site will look like.
The theme button takes you to the gallery of the 10 different setups you can select.
In the advanced settings you can select which of the pages you’d like to be your homepage, add images with captions, add meta data, as well as provide a direct link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Any changes you make will not be released until you edit the site’s settings within the app. A green “done” button will upload all of the changes instantly, and you’re good to go.
You can even change the site’s name and the URL will change as well.
Any site you make will have the “.webr.ly” domain name as a suffix... The webr icon will also be nested in the bottom left corner."
Robin Good: If you are looking for a tool that can help you translate and localize your iOS and Mac apps, you may want to look into Traducto.
From Techcrunch: "...Developers that have neither the time nor the expertise to fully translate an app into another language could be missing out on plenty of international revenue, and a new OS X app called Traducto Pro aims to make sure that’s no longer the case.
Created by Brooklyn-based Visual Frames, Traducto Pro simplifies the localization process for developers looking to bring their iOS and Mac apps to new markets by providing a one-stop shop for requesting and purchasing translations for their projects.
Once the app is installed, users can create an account with Traducto and either punch in text to be translated or directly import Xcode files. Translating pure text — think app store descriptions, press releases, blog posts and the like — is straightforward enough, as users can just copy and paste into the corresponding field and select one of 16 target languages for the text to be translated into.
For developers who would rather shell out a bit of cash instead of handle the process of sourcing translators themselves (or worse: grabbing a dictionary and having a go at it), Traducto Pro seems like a thoughtful, well-executed tool to have in their arsenal. The app is now available to developers here for $49 (and that price gets cut in half with the coupon code “PRO50“)."
Robin Good: Appafolio is a web app which allows you to create image and video portfolio apps for iPhones, iPads and Android devices (soon).
The web-based app guides you through the creation of the individual app sections by allowing you to add images, slideshows, clips and video compilations as well as text-based content.
You can choose and personalize the look and feel, splash page, icons, and navigation of the final app.
The free account option allows anyone to create, edit and test a full portfolio app that will work on your device, and which you can use to showcase your work in person.
If you want to have more than one portoflio and more than 5 screens, you will need to spend either 29.99/year (no public app) or $99/mo (iOS app included) to distribute your portfolio in the App Store.
Robin Good: The responsinator is a free web-based service which allows you to easily test any web site or web page URL designed to test responsive websites on 10 different device resolutions ranging from the iPhone and iPad and extending to Android and Kindle devices.
All of the previews are showcased on a single scrollable page.
Robin Good: TapEdition is a new service which allows physical, print magazine publishers to create highly-visual and interactive edition of their publication, accessible by all types of computers, tablets and mobile devices.
Adding interactive features to your publication is as easy as defining the "hotspots" and then uploading the content.
Key features include:
Embeddedable Video & Audio
Photo Gallery Show. Choose between scroll view, overlay view, grid view or a list view photo gallery.
RSS feeds integration.
Text content integration.
Tap-to-call and Tap-to-email functionalities.
Publish directly to the Apple Newsstand
Charge for subscriptions
Display your own advertising
Final output as Apple Newsstand App and also as an HTML5 app