Google's Fast Flip Repackages News Publications with Innovative Format

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Google’s Fast Flip Repackages News Publications with Innovative Format

If you haven’t tried Google’s Fast Flip, yet, it’s worth a click.

Earlier this month, the company released a “labs” version of its latest product. The web and mobile pages of Fast Flip are designed to allow users to quickly access content from 39 prominent news sources, such as BBC News, Business Week, Cosmopolitan, Men’s Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, Smithsonian.com and The Washington Post.

This product is a new experiment for Google, on multiple levels. First, it’s a departure from Google News. In fact, the two aren’t even linked together. Second, Google has created a revenue sharing arrangement with its news source “partners.” This is something, financially speaking, that Google rarely does, even in “test mode.” Third, each news page can be scrolled within the Google interface, but the pages can also be clicked so that a user is taken directly to the news source’s website. In other words, it’s pretty easy to navigate away from Google.

To Google’s credit, Fast Flip is speedy, easy to digest, and actually makes “looking for news” a little fun. A visitor can sort through the front pages of more than three dozen pubs, scan headlines and lead pics, and make selections based on chronology, popularity, topic and source. According to Google’s official blog, Fast Flip aims to deliver, “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.” So far, so good.

Is Google fishing for data on the way its users interact with news? Yes. Could this be a pre-cursor to upcoming mods within its news section? Maybe. It remains to be seen where the gurus from Mountain Valley will take Fast Flip, and whether or not it will become a revenue generator.

For now, it’s nice to parse an array of articles from the likes of SPIN and Slate without actually committing to a full site visit.

Guest blog by Julian Bibb, president of JLB, LLC, a visual and Web communications company in Franklin, Tenn.

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