On Monday, Google announced a new experiment to Google Labs named Google Fast Flip. Basically, Google Fast Flip offers a visual way to search Google News. Think how you read a book or a print magazine. You flip through pages to read across articles. However, the way we read news online is completely different. Google developed Fast Flip to narrow the gap between reading news online and offline. You can just flip through news article on the web in a “really fast” and natural way.
Followed Google’s usual product development lifecycle, Google Fast Flip is now a lab product under Google Labs. Just point your browser to fastflip.googlelabs.com to access it. The front page of Fast Flip shows you a bundles of recent news, headlines and popular topics in a magazine-style format. Unlike Google News, the Fast Flip provides aggregation and search only over top newspaper and magazines. While reading the article, Fast Flip lets you flip through content just like reading a print magazine. As I tested, it’s really fast and you can have a whole page preview of the article. If you find anything interesting, click on the article to read the full content. You can also share the article with your friend or “Like” the article.
Along with the desktop version, Google also rolls out the mobile version of Fast Flip for iPhone and Android on the same day. It’s a pretty good news for iPhone user. I also tried out the mobile version on iPhone. It’s a bit disappointing as it turns out Google Fast Flip for iPhone is not good enough.
You can access Fast Flip using the same URL as the desktop version. Due to the limited screen size, the front page of Fast Flip just shows the news categories instead of the image preview of news articles. On iPhone, you can flip between pages simply by a swipe of finger within Fast Flip. The performance is great and you can easily flip through lots of articles without much lag. However, there is a big drawback for Fast Flip that makes it nearly useless on iPhone.
Look at the photos below. The image on your left shows the preview of the article. Unlike the desktop version, the font is just too small to read in preview mode. The only way to read it is to zoom in. Google Fast Flip does let you to zoom in the article by a tap on the screen. However, when the font size of the article is enlarged, the whole article cannot fit into the whole iPhone screen (see image on the right). You have to scroll around the article for reading. It’s really a bad reading experience.