Google Currents social news app for tablets imminent

Google is tipped to be on the precipice of launching its new socially-enabled news reader app, Google Currents, with the iPad and Honeycomb software expected to go live on Friday. Tipped back in September under its codename Propeller, now AllThingsD's source claim the app – which will rival stalwarts like Flipboard and Pulse, as well as new challengers like Yahoo!'s Livestand - is set to make its official debut before the week is out.

That's later than originally suggested, with a mid-November release tipped for the app. It's unclear what prompted the delay, or whether it was simply a matter of the project never being intended for any earlier than this. Either way, according to the initial leaks Currents – as it is now supposedly christened – will pull together what Google learned from its axed Fast Flip news reading system, with a new injection of social networking.

That social networking is likely to mean Google+, which has already consumed the sharing functionality previously found in Google Reader. The name "Currents", meanwhile, is an obvious pun on the idea of current news and events.

What remains to be seen is how Google will differentiate Currents from Reader, with the two occupying similar spaces. One possibility is that it will offer a more top-level view of the news, similar to Flipboard and Pulse, rather than attempt to throw all the headlines at a user. Flipboard, for instance, has introduced a semi-intelligent algorithm to suggest stories it things users may be potentially interested in based on what they have read previously. Called Cover Stories, it debuted this week on the new iPhone version of the app, and will arrive on the iPad version next year.