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Google Readies Propeller, Flipboard-Style Reader

Along with nearly every other Web platform and publisher, Google is reportedly readying its own Flipboard-esque social-news reader.

"I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad," tech blogger Robert Scoble reported Thursday. "My source says that the versions he's seen so far are mind-blowing good."

"Google is indeed working on rolling out the new product, which is currently called Propeller," confirms All Things Digital, citing "numerous" unnamed sources. Said sources say Propeller is apparently "one of a number of new socially focused announcements Google is prepping, including new apps."

If and when it launches, Propeller (or whatever it's called) will go up against Flipboard, AOL's Editions, Yahoo's Livestand, Zite -- which, as All Things D notes, was just bought by Time Warner's CNN -- Pulse, and any other news readers that pop up in the meantime.

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Still, "Given Google's search prowess and ability to categorize and search various content as well as posts within Google+, Propeller could be the news-reading app of the year," Mashable suggests.

Though, despite its strengths, the history of the Web is littered with failed Google experiments. As Computerworld points out, "Google this month killed its Fast Flip experiment in Google News, which took screenshots of articles and displayed them in a carousel for easier browsing between stories from multiple sources." Fast Flip had been running for two years and was sharing advertising revenues with publishers.

In an odd aside, Propeller was also the name of AOL's failed socially-driven news site. "'Google Buzz' was likewise poached from a Yahoo news service called 'Buzz,' which is also defunct," notes MobileBeat's Tom Cheredar, adding: "I'm not entirely sure what Google's obsession is with recycling the names of bad news products."

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