Flipboard 2.2.4 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)Flipboard 2.2.4 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

A new update to the magazine-style social news reading app, Flipboard, has expanded sharing features with a new ability to share articles directly with other Flipboard users.

You’ve always been able to share stories on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and more, but you can now send an article over to a friend on Flipboard directly.

Your friends will receive the message both inside the Flipboard app and in an email message.

Additionally, you’ll receive handy notifications when other people on Flipboard share stories with you. This update is now live and available free of charge right in the App Store so go ahead and grab it now while it’s hot…

The new Flipboard version 2.2.4 also includes bug fixes and performance improvements. As for the new direct sharing method, I took a pair of screenies showing that accessing this feature is as easy as taping the Share menu in the article view and choosing a new red profile avatar.

“Your friends will receive this message in Flipboard and in an email,” says the app.

You can type in an optional message for your recipient before hitting the Send button, but you’ll need to grant Flipboard permission to access your iPhone’s contact.

I love how typing your recipient’s name or email address in the TO field lists matching contacts along with the little Flipboard icon next to a contact who has an account with Flipboard.

It’s worth pointing out you can also use the direct sharing method to send articles to friends who don’t use Flipboard, in which case they’ll receive a message in their inbox containing the URL of the source story.

Earlier this week, Flipboard announced buying Zite.

Zite is an ‘intelligent magazine’ that helps you discover interesting things to read and as part of the deal, content from Zite’s previous owner, CNN, will begin syndicating inside Flipboard soon.

Back in January, Flipboard added a revamped Cover Stories to the iOS app. The new look aims to turn story highlights into a format reminiscent of front pages in newspapers.

Flipboard is available free in the App Store.

The app runs natively on any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 5.0 or later.