Is reading online news broken? Google seems to think so as they just launched Google Fast Flip, a Google Labs experiment that’s designed to help you flip through news online as fast as you would if you were holding a print magazine or paper.
Fast Flip is essentially just a funky way to flip through articles from three dozen Google partners including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Fast Company. Partners share in advertising revenue generated through the labs experiment.
With Fast Flip you can flip through snapshots of the day’s popular news, drill into specific sections and topics, or narrow stories by publisher source. Once you select a story, you can view the article in its totality and use the arrows to flip to the previous or next story.
Fast Flip comes with additional features like the ability to share stories via email, story liking, dynamic content based on your viewing experience, and mobile-friendly versions.
According to Google’s post on the launch, the point is to replicate the magazine or print reading experience and make browsing stories faster. The company writes:
‘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.’
On first look, Fast Flip feels like a bit flop. While certainly unique, it’s likely to appeal to a very small segment of online news consumers. Sure, the online news reading experience could be improved, but Fast Flip is more of a tangential approach than it is a step in a revolutionary direction.