Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Google Fast Flip: Looking for Old New Ways to Read News

We all read news on the Internet, don't we? Some of us have their favourite sites or portals where every morning, and then some other times during the day, we go and check what's new. Others, maybe are still more into traditional newspapers, in fact, the phisical experience of reading a newspaper, going through its pages, skipping the boring sections, reading other readers' letters, etc... is always a pleasent one we can say. Ok: of course you can do both things, read newspapers and surf the web looking for news.

Google has tried to synthetize the best side of both experiences by launching a new product in its Google Labs: Google Fast Flip. The product, we read, is conceived to mirror the way readers flick through magazines and newspapers. What we get in the homepage is in fact a series of screenshots from the various publications divided by popularity, topics and sources. Of course then a search function is always present (it's always Google we are taliking about!). If you want to dig deeper into a particular article you just have to click on the screenshot and there you are. Otherwise you can just flip through the pages as you would normally do with your favourite newspaper.

In fact that's exactly what K. Bharat (founder of Google News) sayd in an interview: "We wanted to bring the advantages of print media, the speed and hands-on control you get with a newspaper or magazine, and combine that with the technical advantages of the internet. We wanted the best of both worlds".

So will be Google defining the new paradigm of news reading or will this only be a nice attempt?

Personally, my first impression of Google Fast Flip was positive (but I am biased towards Google). The fact that also an IPod version is available made it even more interesting for me! I liked the fact that you get to read the news pretty much as you do with Google News but you have nicer layout and the actually nice feature of flipping the pages. Maybe it is only an infatuation, maybe that's how I will read the news in the future. We will see...

Anyway, if you want to have a look, here's the link: http://fastflip.googlelabs.com/