Google Labs released a new experimental news tool today called Google Fast Flip—"a new reading experience that combines the best elements of print and online articles."
(Click the image above for a closer look.)
In theory, I guess that may sound like a good idea. In practice—well, it comes off like a ridiculous step backwards. Here's the problem Google says they're trying to solve:
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!
The problem is, Fast Flip is made up of images—you know, the unsearchable stuff that slows down page load speeds—as opposed to text—the stuff that loads in no time. I actually waited a couple of seconds for images to load several times while trying it out (others are commenting on how fast it is, so maybe it's just me), and when they did load, I occasionally ended up looking at images like this:
I may be judging it too harshly for an experimental new tool, but frankly, ! I don't see the point for users. Fast Flip does come in a mobile version friendly to Android and iPhone users for finger-swiping through news, which seems at least a little more useful.
If you give it a try, let's hear what you thought—like it or lump it—in the comments.