Fast Flip : Google’s news and magazine reader

  • This recently (Sept) released tool from Google Labs offers another way to glean news from the internet.  Fast Flip aggregates news stories from many popular sources and presents them in a format that is very easy for the user to navigate. 

On the Official Google blog, it is explained that Fast Flip is an experiment where people can combine traditional print reading with online article reading to achieve a new and enhanced reading experience. 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.

Fast flip1

From the homepage you can chose to have information sorted and presented to you by the level of popularity, topic, and source. To navigate through the articles all you have to do is click on the arrows on the page.

It is simple to do a search, in this case tsunami. You can view the resultant pages before opening them up. The searches I undertook were very quick in finding results. It is very clean and neatFast flip2

At the moment Fast Flip has about 40 newspapers and magazines on board, including the NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Business Week, as well as a number that I have never heard of. The content is all English language material at the moment but (non-US source) BBC News has come onboard already and Google promises to work on gathering content in languages other than English. Click on all sources allows you to see links to those sources currently available.

Fast flip3

If you like to read you news off the internet this may be an interesting tool to use.

There are a few points that I summised from reading the Google blog announcement and searching around Fast Flip :

  • Browsing is often what people do in physical libraries, people have always browsed for and through information. Today browsing is an information experience in itself and technology is providing us with the chance to dip into a much larger pool of information than ever before. Those of us in school libraries need to acknowledge browsing as an important skill and we need to teach our students how to do this well so they can navigate their way through the “sea of information out there”.
  • It is interesting that there was a mobile version of Fast Flip available at the launch, albeit that the app is currently available only for iPhones and Android devices. Mobile apps are becoming increasingly important in today’s world and picks up on the idea of people reading their news when commuting or otherwise on the run. If a big company like Google sees that m-devices are critical to success, we who working libraries need to look at our services and what and how we provide them.
  • It is also interesting, especially in light of Rupert Murdoch’s recent statements, that here print isn’t really part of the equation anymore. This rapid online browsing experience is all about the web content.

I know many of my colleagues are grappling with aspects of these three points and what it means to the services we provide/offer to our communities

To have a further look at how it works click on the screencast from Demo Girl below.

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One Response

  1. Google keeps on bringing out some incredible tools. I like your emphasis on teaching browsing as a skill. This will become of increasing importance to students over the years. Have you got a google wave account yet? I cant wait to see that new ititiative.

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