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Fast Flip? Fast Flop.

By Nicholas Rougeux, posted on September 14, 2009 in Web

Google's new Fast Flip, released Monday, is a way to visually browse the news in a new zippy way. Sure, it may be speedy but useful? Not quite.

Fast Flip allows readers to quickly scan top news stories without visiting each one and waiting for them to load. Anything that makes browsing the web faster is a plus in my book. No argument from me there. I take pause at how they've accomplished this though.

Take a look at the screenshot below and tell me what jumps out:

Screenshot of Fast Flip's most viewed stories

Fast Flip's most viewed stories

If you're like me, you see a picture of U2, articles from Slate and The Atlantic, and three other articles. Therein lies the problem. What grabbed my attention were the articles with the biggest distractions. Big pictures and big text are the winners here—not the content. What happened to the "content is king" idea? The content is reduced to tiny illegible text. How is that useful?

If Google is looking for a way to make reading news easier and more engaging, they could stand to take a cue from the The New York Times and their Article Skimmer. It may not be quite as speedy but it puts each story on equal footing without demoting the relevant content.

Screenshot of 'The New York Times' Article Skimmer

The New York Times' Article Skimmer

I may be jumping the gun here and I'd love to be proven wrong but Fast Flip feels like a slap in the face for those of us that have been tirelessly advocating content over distraction to our clients. Watching how Fast Flip evolves should be interesting.


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