Google on Dec. 16 said that it had expanded its Fast Flip purview to nearly 90 titles. Fast Flip shows that Google is not satisfied with digital books. More broadly, it's not enough that Google's Book Search program aims to organize the world's books, or that Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook virtualize the print book reading experience on a handheld device, or that we can similarly read books from our Apple iPhones or Motorola Droid smartphones. Fast Flip attempts to cover the rest of what we like to read.
When Google launched
its Google Fast Flip service for digitizing the way people read
newspapers and magazines Sept. 15, it was a jarring reminder that the future of
publishing, or at least the way we consume content is changing.
Web pages with publishers' articles are rendered on the
Fast Flip page, where users can click on them to begin reading. Users may also
scroll through scores of articles simply by clicking the mouse on up, down or
In an hour of testing
, it was fast, efficient and akin to a microfiche. It was limited to 39
publications at launch, including The new York Times, Business Week and TechCrunch.
Then I forgot about Fast Flip, and I assumed most
everyone else did, too. I haven't returned to the Google Labs experiment since
the day I covered it and don't know anyone else who has. It's not that it
wasn't a good service, I just don't yet have a use for it.
So it was a small surprise that Google Dec. 16 said
that it had expanded its Fast Flip purview to nearly 90 titles after reaching
agreements with publishers representing more than 50 newspapers, magazines, Web
publications, news wires, and TV and radio broadcasters.
New partners include include Tribune Co. newspapers such
as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, McClatchy Company newspapers
such as the Miami Herald and the Kansas City Star, the Huffington Post, Popular
Science, Reuters, Public Radio International, and U.S. News & World Report.
It's not enough that Google is indexing the world's out-of-print books through its controversial Google Book Search
program, or that Amazon's Kindle
and Barnes & Noble's Nook
virtualize the print book reading
experience on a handheld device, or that we can similarly read books from our
Apple iPhones or Motorola Droid smartphones.
Fast Flip lets us read magazines and newspapers from our
computers and smartphones. The mobile version of Fast Flip lets users access
the service through iPhones and Android-based smartphones. This means no print
publication is sacred in the new digital world.