Google launches "Fast Flip" for online news

Chris Caceres · September 15, 2009 · Short URL:

The search king continues to build products attempting to change the way we consume online news

Late yesterday afternoon, Google released a tool for online news readers called "Fast Flip."  It's basically Google's version of visual search, except focused only on news articles across the Web.  What Google is trying to solve with Fast Flip is the issue of users trying to scan quickly through news articles, yet continue to be slowed down by long loading times.  Google said in its blog,

"One problem with reading news online today is that browsing can be really slow. A media-rich page loads dozens of files and can take as much as 10 seconds to load over broadband, which can be frustrating. What we need instead is a way to flip through articles really fast without unnatural delays, just as we can in print. The flow should feel seamless and let you rapidly flip forward to the content you like, without the constant wait for things to load. Imagine taking 10 seconds to turn the page of a print magazine!"

At first try, the Google's product feels quite fast.  Articles are presented in large thumbnails for an overview type glance, and if users want to get a closer look at the publication, they can enlarge those articles and read a few paragraphs.  From there, users can choose whether or not they'd like to 'flip' to the next article, or finish reading the entire article by being redirected to the publishers site.  

Google said that in order to build Fast Flip, it partnered with three dozen top publishers including the NYTimes, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Salon and Newsweek.  Google said this experiment could help publishers gain more revenue from ad revenues due to the fact that if people can read articles faster, they will read more of them.  

But just because the product is coming from search king Google does not mean it's perfect.  Users were already knocking the product saying they experienced slow load times along with pages loading up completely improperly. 

Functioning sort of as a try before you buy or in this case, preview before you read in entirety, I could see this easily getting placed into Google's new micro transaction platform it is working for readers of online news. 

Google said Fast Flip is also available on the iPhone and its Android platform.

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