It has only been a couple of weeks since its last major update, but today Flipboard, the social magazine for iPad, has released yet another new version of its app into the iTunes App Store. This time around, Flipboard has added support for Google Reader and Flickr, among other improvements, including navigational changes and better content sharing features.

Google Reader Comes to Flipboard (At Last!)

Adding support for Google Reader was one of the top user requests for this popular iPad app, which recently won Apple's editors choice for "iPad App of the Year," Flipboard Co-foudner Evan Doll told us today. And we can safely say that Google Reader users, whether casual or power users, will be happy with the addition.

You can now do nearly everything in Flipboard that you can with Google Reader's own Web app at google.com/reader, except for sharing items with a note, searches or managing subscriptions. While those features may or may not be added in the future (user feedback will determine this), you can, however, star items, share items, see what posts your friends have shared, see a post's likes, and, assuming a post has comments, read and reply to them from within Flipboard. You can also toggle a setting which will mark posts as read as you actually tap on them to read them (the default) or as you flip through pages, scanning headlines and text.

In Flipboard, feeds are shown to you in a magazine-style layout instead of Google Reader's inbox-like interface. In fact, perusing feeds like this may very much remind you of the experience you've enjoyed previously via Feedly, the Web browser extension which also "magazine-ified" Google Reader.

Introducing Live Previews

But the way Flipboard has approached the magazine-like design is quite a bit different than how Feedly does things. Instead of having to tap a link ("read on Web") to view an article from an RSS feed on the originating website, as you did in the past, Flipboard has implemented live previews.

With this new feature, the article's website actually loads below the magazine-style interface and you can drag the website up using your finger to see the site in full. You can then browse that site as you would normally - clicking from post to post, reading or leaving comments, etc. And good news for publishers - this live preview registers as a pageview on backend analytics systems whereas before, on the desktop, those pageviews were lost as RSS subscribers scanned your content, but never clicked through to launch the site itself.

This same type of navigation (using live previews) is presented for any article tweeted or shared on Facebook from one of your friends, assuming the RSS feed is one Flipboard has a record of. And yes, it parses shortened URLs to determine if that's the case. Flipboard's content partners also now have the live previews as well.

 

Flickr Added, Too

In addition, Flipboard has added Flickr to its list of services supported, which looks great on the iPad. Flickr users can browse photos, tap to view individual items, favorite photos, read and leave comments, browse their Flickr groups and pretty much anything else you would do on the Web. (Except, of course, having to click "next," "next," "next" to work through someone's photostream.)

Navigation and Sharing Changes

The overall navigation for all Flipboard sections has been improved in this release. Now, tapping the title of a section lets you navigate through a Table of Contents. Depending on what section you're in, you could use this to quickly change to a different folder of RSS feeds from Google Reader, for example, or an individual RSS feed, a Facebook page you're a fan of, a Facebook group, various friend lists, or even Flipboard's own recommended sections which you may or may not subscribe to.

Also new is a status update button that lets you share an item from anywhere in Flipboard out to social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

Flipboard is available on iTunes here as a free download.

Update: Flipboard has released a new video detailing the new features, which we've embedded below. Pay attention at the 40 second mark. We love you too, Flipboard!