First off: Google’s Fast Flip is absolutely nothing special. The service allows readers to rapidly skim through electronic reproductions of news web pages to get a comprehensive view on a topic (or person or place…) of interest and then drill down by clicking to get a full view of an individual story. It will work nicely for those with attention deficit disorder or those who have freshly minted Evelyn Wood certificates. For the rest of us, it’s silly eye candy.
But here’s the real story for Fast Flip. According to published reports, Google has offered to share “the bulk of the revenue” from ads on Fast Flip’s pages.In addition, Google has responded to several RFPs from newspapers seeking partners in their push for premium content. Google believes its Checkout product is the perfect vehicle for paid content micropayments and subscriptions. Any reason to believe Google is using Fast Flip as a means to cast aside the image as the publisher’s enemy that ended in a still-unresolved settlement with book publishers?
Speaking of books, FF would be a service Google would no doubt offer book publishers who could allow readers to skim through sample chapters and then click a button to buy (download from Google). In order to show the publishing world it is not doing evil in its pursuit of all the world’s information, we are likely to see more services along the lines of Fast Flip aimed less at providing consumers value but more to show publishers a former enemy is truly its friend.