Google Fastflip – Super Fast News OR The End of Online Ad Revenue?

Ever since Google announced the addition of a new experiment to Google Labs (Google Fast Flip, accessible at fastflip.googlelabs.com), I have seen people talking and writing about it like the birth of a new regime. Google claims that Fast Flip is a new reading experience that combines the best elements of print and online articles and goes on to believe that it can boost the online news industry in a big way. Like a print magazine, Fast Flip is being designed to let the user browse sequentially through bundles of recent news, headlines and popular topics, as well as feeds from individual top publishers.

While all of these sound really exciting and intriguing, that leaves me with no choice but to ponder if the following assumption by Google could backfire:

“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.”

Google Fastflip

I agree, that it is quite possible to achieve greater news exposure via Fast Flip that promises a quick and a faster news flipping. But, I’m not sure if it can really drive more ad revenue to publishers because the chance of grabbing the attention of their readers might get affected badly due to the very same reason of a faster and quicker online reading trend! Moreover, loading time of the news pages is probably not the reason that is killing the Online News Industry at the moment. And the reason why a reader would want to access news online (instead of paper media) could vary based on different factors. Fast Flip, while noteworthy for its speed and technology, makes finding news clumsy.  For example:

  • It is counter-intuitive to click on the news in Fast Flip online (to get an identical but live page popped up) for reading the second page.
  • News headlines can be difficult to identify and spot and the reader’s attention is distracted to different design patterns that are not the best as far as their attractiveness and ease of use are concerned!

On the other hand, Fast Flip can definitely relieve some group of people who face problems while accessing online news content. So it may indeed encourage the readers to read more news in a quick span of time. Quite cleverly, Google has made mobile version of Fast Flip with tactile page flipping for Android-powered devices and the iPhone, so that the readers can browse the news on the move.

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