In 2005 I stopped subscribing to dead tree newspapers and said to my friends and family that I thought if I were in the news business, I’d start publishing exclusively online. Everyone snickered and thought that was ridiculous when I brought it up at family gatherings. I discussed it with co-workers and up until the past 6 months or so universally heard “I like the paper version.” ??I wondered why? “Why did it seem as though I ??was the only one that preferred digital news reading?”
Then last year I decided I would get the Amazon Kindle for both Newspaper and book reading. I waited until it matured a couple of generations, the design improved ??a bit and then the price came down $60. Now I read my daily newspaper subscriptions on the Kindle. (OK, I still get the dead tree version on Sunday so my wife can satisfy the coupon needs – they should offer all of those coupons in digital format too.)
I read all the rest of my news on Google News where I can see all sources and customize my interests. Google News serves as my doorway to all the publications I regularly read. Especially the tech pubs and business news.
Now Google offers an incredible news reader they call “Fast Flip” that the ??major news organizations couldn’t figure out – doing what the dead tree publishers resisted and just wouldn’t attempt – innovate and advance presentation of digital content.
Instead they are struggling to preserve their clearly doomed business model. Paper versions will absolutely die within the next five years. This is the equivalent of CD’s for music, DVD’s for movies, and silver based film for cameras. Digital delivery in one form or another will dominate all of those and there will be much less plastic from those discarded discs and film backing into the environment and hopefully less paper produced and discarded daily.
If the Fast Flip news reader were a start-up, I’d pile all my available cash into investing in them. But it’s Google and I have no spare money to invest in the current Google Stock price. They’re doing fine without me.
So what is it that has me all gaga over Google Fast Flip? Simplicity and speed, the same thing that won me over with Google Search. No distractions, well there is that one skyscraper ad on the right side which is apparently to be a rev-share with publishers.
Here’s what the official Google Blog had to say today:
Read news fast with Google Fast Flip
9/14/2009 04:11:00 PM
One problem with reading news online today is that browsing can be really slow. A media-rich page loads dozens of files and can take as much as 10 seconds to load over broadband, which can be frustrating. What we need instead is a way to flip through articles really fast without unnatural delays, just as we can in print. The flow should feel seamless and let you rapidly flip forward to the content you like, without the constant wait for things to load. Imagine taking 10 seconds to turn the page of a print magazine!
Today we’re adding a new experiment to Google Labs: Google Fast Flip, accessible at fastflip.googlelabs.com. 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. 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.
Below is a screen capture (Click it to Enlarge)
Funny glitch on the New York Times “Digits” blog from which I grabbed that screen capture, the date on the Times masthead is January 15, 1970 – is that a Google dig at the state of the news industry? That was 39 Years, 7 months and 30 days ago (Thanks Wolfram Alpha)