Google seem to have a knack of producing software or tools that are so very useful, and Fast Flip is yet another web application that works really well. Google describe it as follows:
Google Fast Flip lets users discover and share news articles. It combines qualities of print and the Web, with the ability to “flip” through pages online as quickly as flipping through a magazine. It also enables users to follow friends and topics, discover new content and create their own custom magazines around searches.
How does it work?
Google capture images of the articles on their partners’ websites and then display them in an easy-to-read way. The stories are grouped by categories, such as Entertainment, Business, Opinion, Politics and Most Viewed. Readers can flip through stories quickly by simply pressing the left- and right-arrow keys until they find one that catches their interest. Clicking on the story takes them directly to the publisher’s website.
How are the Topics selected? Can I choose my own?
The Topics are generated automatically by rising stories in the news. Users can also search for any subjects they want and basically create their own topics, almost like a custom magazine, on the fly.
How are stories recommended in the Recommended section?
The stories in this section are recommended by users of Google Fast Flip in direct and indirect ways. We take cues from how often they read stories, e-mail stories and register a public vote for stories by clicking on the “Like” button on each article.
Can I recommend stories that I like to other people?
Google Fast Flip allows readers to vote on an article to tell the world they liked it. Clicking on the “Like” button on a story page lodges a public vote for that story, which is one of the factors in whether Fast Flip includes stories the “Recommended” section. At the bottom of the home page, Fast Flip users who are signed in to their Google Account can see which stories friends in their Gmail contact list have “liked.”
Source: Google Fast Flip
Up until recently there was a very similar web application called searchme:, but unfortunately they were seeking over $100 million dollars to stay afloat. CEO Randy Adams knew when they started the company that to compete with the likes of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, it was going to take at least $100 million, half to build the back end across thousands of servers and half to get distribution (maybe more with Microsoft spending $100 million on Bing advertising alone). What they didn’t plan on was the terrible downturn in the economy which made it impossible to raise another $50 million to get distribution (mainly through toolbar deals). So they were fucked by ED!