9/14/2009 04:11:00 PMOne 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!
Today we're adding a new experiment to Google Labs: Google Fast Flip, accessible at fastflip.googlelabs.com. Fast Flip is a new reading experience that combines the best elements of print and online articles. Like a print magazine, Fast Flip lets you browse sequentially through bundles of recent news, headlines and popular topics, as well as feeds from individual top publishers. As the name suggests, flipping through content is very fast, so you can quickly look through a lot of pages until you find something interesting. At the same time, we provide aggregation and search over many top newspapers and magazines, and the ability to share content with your friends and community. Fast Flip also personalizes the experience for you, by taking cues from selections you make to show you more content from sources, topics and journalists that you seem to like. In short, you get fast browsing, natural magazine-style navigation, recommendations from friends and other members of the community and a selection of content that is serendipitous and personalized.
To build Google Fast Flip, we partnered with three dozen top publishers, including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Salon, Fast Company, ProPublica and Newsweek. These partners will share the revenue earned from contextually relevant ads. This gives publishers an opportunity to introduce new readers to their content. It also tests our theory that being able to read articles faster means people will read more of them, driving more ad revenue to publishers.
The publishing industry faces many challenges today, and there is no magic bullet. However, we believe that encouraging readers to read more news is a necessary part of the solution. We think Fast Flip could be one way to help, and we're looking to find other ways to help as well in the near future.
We've also made a mobile version of Fast Flip with tactile page flipping for Android-powered devices and the iPhone, so you can browse on the go. This is accessible at the same address.
Go to Google Labs and give Fast Flip a spin. If you have suggestions to make the service better, please let us know. We'll keep working on new ways to improve your news-reading experience. Happy flipping!
This is really amazing; not only are top media pages sortable by trends, genre and by individual publication (and any user-defined query), each flip is just a screen shot, which displays content in a fraction of the time it takes to load an entire ad-filled article.
How to Save the News
Plummeting newspaper circulation, disappearing classified ads, “unbundling” of content—the list of what’s killing journalism is long. But high on that list, many would say, is Google, the biggest unbundler of them all. Now, having helped break the news business, the company wants to fix it—for commercial as well as civic reasons: if news organizations stop producing great journalism, says one Google executive, the search engine will no longer have interesting content to link to. So some of the smartest minds at the company are thinking about this, and working with publishers, and peering ahead to see what the future of journalism looks like. Guess what? It’s bright.
Photos by Robyn Twomey/Redux (Above: Hal Varian, Google's chief economist)
From "How to Save the News" By James Fallows
An incredibly provocative article about Google's apparent intent to move into the news industry, in an attempt to incentivize, rather than stifle content creation.