Here, I'm providing a first run-through of the experimental service, which lets news readers surf through news publications online with startling speed. The home screen shows Web pages from publications in a similar fashion to Google Chrome's representation on its New Tab screen.
Recent selections on the Fast Flip home screen are certainly up-to-date, noting a US Magazine story about the passing of "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost" star Patrick Swayze. Scroll bars on either side of the screen let users zip through the stories.
I selected the US Swayze story and saw this tip on how to navigate through other stories:
When I mouse over the scroll bar on the left, additional stories pop up, and I can scroll up or down to select more instead of hitting the back button on my browser. When I remove the mouse arrow from the blue bar on the left, it slides neatly back into the side of the Web page.
I also clicked the "Like" button at the top right, which is why it appears yellow, letting others I know I approved of the story. To e-mail the piece to someone, I click that button and see this prompt:
The ad pairing is interesting, too. Swayze succumbed to pancreatic cancer, making the National Cancer Institute ad on the right salient. Or is it morbid and tactless? I can't decide which and I'll leave it up to you:
I can tell you it didn't last long. I surfed a bit more, then came back to the Swayze story in US 5 minutes later only to see another tip and a different ad, this one for a new album for Whitney Houston:
I can say with absolute certainty that Fast Flip is fast and it will put more ads in front of the users who use it. But I'm not sure users are ready for Fast Flip to replace the way they currently view Google News -- link by link.
Fast Flip takes some getting used to. In my eWEEK story, I compared Fast Flip to using a microfiche machine in a library. The problem I always had with those is I felt like I was missing stuff if I scrolled too fast. Same with Fast Flip.
To that end, I wonder if Fast Flip will make Google users feel like they are doing research for a term paper (I remain haunted by those microfiches at the Homer Babbidge Library!), rather than just casually perusing the news the way we would with a morning newspaper.
Anyway, I'm just noodling over something for Google to consider as it goes forward with this to make more ad sales for itself and the participating publications.
For now, Fast Flip is a fun experiment. Read what everyone else is saying about it on TechMeme here today.