San Francisco -- Internet giant Google amid criticism from media companies, now continuing to appease the dying newspaper industry, has added more than dozens 24 media partners to its online news reader “Fast Flip,” including the Tribune and McClatchy newspaper groups, the Huffington Post and Politico, bringing the total number of newspapers, magazines and blogs in the project to nearly 100.
Google says the Fast Flip project, an early-stage experimental program launched about three months ago, which is designed to make web articles in a magazine-style layout with 'pages' that readers can turn from several online news sources making it easily readably while also anticipating to make some sort of revenue for the publishers and obviously itself.
In addition to The Telegraph, Google is appending 55 new publishers to the service including two more in the UK, the Independent and the Express. The search company said the new openings now reaches to about 90 the number of titles available from newspapers, magazines, websites, newswires and television and radio broadcasters available on Fast Flip. The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and McClatchy newspapers such as the Miami Herald and the Kansas City Star, and Reuters are also now part of the service.
The company states that the initial outcome has been very assuring and that the program can be considered a success so far. It is not taking it out of Google Labs just yet, but it is announcing the addition of another 24 publishers and 55 publications to Fast Flip.
“So far our initial assumption has held up: If you make it easier to read news online, people will read more of it. Users have told us they like being able to browse content so quickly, and we have been pleased with the amount of time they have spent reading articles in Fast Flip,” Jack Hebert, software engineer at Google, wrote. “Today, we are excited to be adding articles from another two dozen publishers representing more than 50 newspapers, magazines, web outlets, news wires and TV and radio broadcasters.”
The service empowers users to click and flip between news stories from different news sources. These are available as screen grabs and can be browsed by themes such as politics, business and entertainment, or by most recent or most viewed. Users can select a story to be directed to the original post. A mobile version of the service means users can access Fast Flip from their iPhone or Google Android device.
“While we are encouraged by the positive feedback about Fast Flip, it is just one of many test you will see us try in partnership with news publishers,” says Google. “Our goal is to work with the industry to help it continue to innovate and develop bigger audiences, better engage those audiences and generate more revenue.”
Telegraph articles are now on Google Fast Flip
“We are delighted to be part of this experiment aimed at improving the reader's engagement with our journalism, by employing technology to give readers a broader view of our content, delivering the important benefit of wider awareness of the 'news' -- rather like flicking through a newspaper,” said William Lewis, managing director, digital and editor-in-chief of Telegraph Media Group.
The roll-out follows criticism earlier this year from some sections of the print industry, which accuse Google of unfairly cashing-in on their news content with ad revenues. Last month, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch said he is planning to pull out all News Corp.'s online news content from Google's search index once the company rolls out paywalls across its portfolio of newspaper sites.
Agence France-Presse is one of the original associates in Fast Flip along with the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, online news sites TechCrunch, Salon and Slate and others.
However, Fast Flip allows users a very fast and convenient way of quickly browsing through different articles and publications. The app itself is everything you would expect from Google, it is light, fast and functional. Nevertheless, Fast Flip, although great in theory, fails to impress or even deliver on its promise in practice.
“Our aim is to work with the industry to help it continue to innovate and build bigger audiences, better engage those audiences and generate more revenue,” Hebert said.
Unlike Google News, Google splits advertising revenue from Fast Flip with its media partners.
With print advertising revenue shrinking and circulation declining, US newspaper publishers have been actively searching for ways to earn more money from the Web, including possibly charging for content online.
Google last week, in association with The Washington Post and The New York Times unveiled an experiment in online presentation of news called “Living Stories,” which collects stories on a specific topic together on one page, making it easier for readers to track new developments.
Living Stories groups coverage of a particular topic from a news organization under a single URL, or Web address.
Clara Armand-Delille, Google's communications and public affairs manager, said: “We continue to engage with publishers on a regular basis, to find out first-hand how we can work together to tackle some of the challenges of the online world from a technological perspective.”
For the moment, Fast Flip is considered an experimental “Google Labs” product. It is accessible at fastflip.googlelabs.com.