Posted September 15, 2009 9:49 am by with 6 comments

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It appears the newspaper industry is completely unable to figure out a way to innovate and monetize online content, so Google’s going to show them how it’s done.

When I started reading the official announcement for Google Fast Flip, I was pretty impressed by the novel approach to loading online news:

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.

Very cool. Google pre-loads each result, meaning you get fast access to news–such as the sad passing of Patrick Swayze:

Then, the following thought crossed my mind: the newspaper is going to rip Google’s throat out for using their precious content in this way! After all, why visit the publisher’s site–and click on their ads–when you never have to leave Google Fast Flip?

Ah, but Google’s apparently smarter than me–shocking I know! 😉

The announcement reveals that Google has pre-empted any ruffled feathers by partnering with the top news publishers.

…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.


Also clever, there’s a mobile version for Android and iPhone–complete with tactile page flipping.

Not so clever? That stupid logo. I’m known for my liberal use of emoticons, but really Google? You felt the logo needed a smiley face? Why not rename it Fast Flipper and user a dolphin as the logo? Now, that would be classy! 🙂

  • Usually I ignore these kinds of pretty toys from Google, but I could actually see myself using this one. I tested results for “caster semenya”, “yale murder” and “online backup” and got great results for the first, limited results for the second, and no results for the third.

    I think that at the moment the tool is more useful for trending/breaking news stories covered by the mainstream media (Google’s top publishing partners) and not so much for anything older or harder to find. I would definitely expect them to expand their publisher list but I wonder if they’ll extend the time window backwards or stay focused on the present? More revenue to be made from extending the results pool backwards, of course, since it will ensure that there are fewer/zero instances of no results and therefore there will always be an ad opportunity – but extending backwards might mean that the results are less relevant to readers who are looking for the latest on a story.

    Ain’t speculation grand?
    .-= Cara deBeer´s last blog ..Good Morning Vietnam =-.

  • I think i’d probably read more news online if it all loaded faster, that’s why i read papers when they’re in front of me. I think it’ll take off more on a ‘mobile’ front though that’s just my initial reaction.
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..SEO vs Accessibility Video – Search Engine Optimisation Tutorial =-.

  • No matter what people try to do I just don’t see the newspaper industry being able to stay afloat. Why would you read the newspapers when you can just go on their websites and read the news quickly from even an iphone or blackberry. Things change as technology advances and this is one of those things.
    .-=´s last blog Review =-.

  • Dean

    @andy Don’t I need to download Silverlight to get this to work? (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

  • Newspapers and Google Embrace after Stormy, Emotional Battle…

    Er, not so fast. Fast Flip is a wonderful new product that enhances the consumer experience and throws a bone to the ailing newspaper industry. But newspapers won’t be satisfied with scraps, they’re after the meat behind the Google revenue machine.

    Not that I blame them. What business really wants a competitor controlling their revenue stream and doling out profits as they see fit? In reality Google is doing more than extending an olive branch, they invented a way to make more money for the papers.

    My question…instead of building pay walls to lock up content that will be replicated by millions of other news sites and bloggers, why didn’t newsies think of something like Fast Flip themselves (and thus control ALL the revenue)?
    .-= Social Media Commando´s last blog ..Online Reputation Management: Who’s Got Your Back? =-.

  • You may also like to check out SpaceTime3D at

    SpaceTime3D allows you to search Google web pages, Flickr images, Wikipedia and more using a stunning visual interface that speeds up the search process by allowing you to flip through pages presented in a visual stack of search results.

    I hope you give it a try.