Demand for slick news aggregation services on mobile devices has not escaped Google’s attention. According to reports, the company is planning its own mobile news reader application organized around social feeds that would compete with the likes of Flipboard, Zite, Pulse, and AOL’s Editions.
Robert Scoble posted an item on his Google+ feed about what is being called (for now, anyway) *Google* Propeller, and the basic plans seems to involve creating a mobile application for both Android and iOS that would allow users to curate their favorite news sources and easily navigate between stories. All Things D also reported on the project, with an interesting nugget that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) approached Flipboard last year about potentially buying the company and promised to build such an app after Flipboard declined Google’s advances.
Publishing companies are definitely interested in these applications, as we heard from Flipboard CEO Mike McCue Thursday at paidContent Advertising, both in terms of how they can present the news and the unique ads they can attract. Zite was also recently purchased by CNN with hopes of learning how to create such experiences.
And Google is on a big social-media tear this year, launching products like Google+ and changing the company’s compensation structure to reward employees based on its performance in the social space. Should it hit upon a different type of crowd-pleasing experience, Propeller could be something that allows Google to offer advertising partners a new type of display ad. Google recently killed its Fast Flip Web experiment in tablet-style news browsing, and this could be the replacement.