Many publishers have complained repeatedly that Google and Google News (not the leading online news site) reduces their content to “commodity” status or otherwise adversely impacts their brands. Google’s Fast Flip is a response to this in part.
It offers a more “branded” and visual way to consume news and magazine content from major publishers. We wrote about Fast Flip originally when it launched in Google Labs. Now Steve Rubel has found a page that looks like Google is getting ready to integrate Fast Flip into News:
It appears from the screen above that Fast Flip might replace some part of the news page below the fold. I like the concept of Fast Flip quite a bit but think it still has a way to go to be a compelling way to consume news.
We also speculated some time ago that Fast Flip might be the “platform” for the micropayments system that Google has been working on with a number of newspaper publishers. In the meantime, Fast Flip offers Google some valuable “inventory” against which it can serve contextually targeted display ads:
There’s also a mobile version of Fast Flip:
Fast Flip is a product that has the potential to make Google News different than its competitors and much more interesting than it currently is today.
Postscript: Here’s an official comment from Google:
At Google, we run anywhere from 50 to 200 experiments at any given time on our websites all over the world. A few weeks ago we started running a few small ones exploring how we might incorporate results from Google Fast Flip, the article-reading service we launched in Google Labs in September, into Google News. From these tests we hope to learn whether including Fast Flip results in Google News would provide a good experience for users and news publishers. More information about how Google runs experiments can be found here.