Last month at TC:50, Google unveiled their latest Google News effort called Fast Flip. News began dripping onto Twitter and soon I was playing around with it. I loved it right away.
Soon more people started hearing about it and did their own trials. Opinion was mixed. I remained steadfast in my love for it. I saw it as the “next step” in web news consumption. I still think that.
Thing is, I never use it.
I have re-visited Fast Flip since that first night, but it’s only been to see if there were features I had missed. My favourite aspect of it is that it allows me to deep-dive web sites, leading me to discover stories I otherwise never would have found. It’s especially useful for sites with large archives and numerous sections, such as NYTimes.com.
I also realised that Fast Flip is not best utilised on a laptop. If ever there was an application built with direct manipulation touch screen devices in mind, Fast Flip is it. The elegance of “flipping” through pages is lost on clicking. Using a finger to flip like you would a book page would feel much more natural.
I can envisage using Fast Flip more if I wanted to find out what I’m not seeing on NYTimes.com when I visit the web site. But for regular consumption, it’s either a half-baked idea, or way ahead of its time. At this point it’s hard to say.
Have you tried the cook NY Times prototype, Article Skimmer? It’s been around since March. View all of the articles (and a small amount of text besides the headline) in a given section at one time. Click to go directly to the full text article. I find it very useful.
Also, USA Today continues to beta test a version that shows ONLY headlines, organized by section. They’re calling it News Deck. Useful I’m not so sure but not nearly as cool as the NY Times prototype.
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