Google is hard at work on developing a social news reader to compete with the likes of Flipboard, Zite, Pulse, AOL's Editions, and Yahoo's Livestand. According to AllThingsD's Kara Swisher, the project is currently called Propeller.
Sources say Google Propeller will be made available on Apple's iPads and Google's Android tablets.
Unlike traditional publications, these tablet-optimized social news applications aggregate content from publications, social networks, and other websites and present them in magazine format. Additionally, these digital newsstands learn from the clicking and reading habits of its users to deliver more personalized and relevant content.
Considering Google's prowess when it comes to searching and finding relevant content for readers, Propeller could be a huge hit.
Tech evangelist Robert Scoble got the scoop on Google Propeller and announced the news on his Google+ social feed.
I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad, Scoble posted. My source says that the versions he's seen so far are mind-blowing good.
Sources say Propeller is one of several new social apps currently being developed by Google. Many believe this new project is just the search giant's way of staying competitive with Flipboard, the top player in the social news app scene, as well as Facebook, which is also rolling out social versions of publications within its own site. Reportedly, Facebook will reformat and personalize news to each user who visits a publication's page within Facebook.
Finding ways to deliver personalized news content is hot right now, given that Facebook, Google, AOL, Yahoo, and CNN have all recently invested in the social news space. Google Propeller will no doubt benefit from the company's authority in the news aggregation space and likely leverage its social network Google+, but its biggest competition will still be Flipboard, which has been the most prominent offering in the space after being named the 2010 iPad App of the Year by Apple.
Sources say Google actually tried to buy Flipboard at one point, but the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, which is backed by some of the biggest VCs in the tech scene such as Kleiner Perkins, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, and actor Ashton Kutcher, declined the offer.
Google recently acquired Zagat and Motorola Mobility to enhance its social offerings.