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Google Fast Flip is like a mashup of portals, webpages, and Google Reader

The Chicago Tribune and other top content providers are participating in Google’s new online reader, the Google Fast Flip. Take a look at http://fastflip.googlelabs.com.

Here’s my review:

I was leery as I read bout Fast Flip on Google’s blog. But my first impression upon looking through the actual interface I REALLY REALLY like the idea. Why? Because it combines two different ways I personally read my regular websites. Here’s how I view websites:

1) Browser toolbar

I have folders in browser’s toolbar. One for each day of the week. So on Tuesday, I do a “open all in tabs” and it launches all my websites into separate tabs in one window. There might be like 25 websites. I let the websites load and then I simply browse through the websites tab by tab. There is no waiting for stuff to load. I just simply read and close tabs.

2) Google Reader

One thing about using method #1 is that I’m loading the same websites every day. Many of the sites don’t refresh their content every week, so I’m wasting my time closing a tab for a site that doesn’t update. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Google Reader. I’m absolutely convinced that EVERY PERSON who uses the internet to read content should use Google Reader. Seriously. It’s simply the best way to read content online. AND it syncs with the iPhone.

With Google Reader, when I look at an article, it automatically marks it as read, so I don’t have to look at it again. If I want to review the article later, I can either tag it or mark a star on it. I can organize the websites into folders.

Google Reader is just fantastic. I really don’t understand why more people don’t use it.

The only thing that stinks about Google Reader is that since it pulls content via RSS feeds. #1, the site has to have an RSS feed to read it in Google Reader. #2, since it’s an RSS feed, it’s JUST the articles. Which can be good. No distractions. But there’s something about reading an article on the actual website, with the branding. With the comments. With the other elements in a site that might point me to interesting things.

Here comes in Fast Flip.

It’s like Google Reader in a way, because it presents content on an article by article basis. And it allows you to see the article in the website format. It’s kinda like a merging of both my website reading methods. For those reasons, I love the idea.

The question is, would +I+ personally use it?

I don’t know. I love my Reader. I love my folders in my toolbar. The article thing. Is it clunky? Can I customize the websites I want to see? I don’t think I can tell it to put in my brother’s blog. They give preset categories. That I don’t like. I want +MY+ stuff. The Stuff +I’m+ interested in. So in a way, they take away a HUGE reason why I love Google Reader—being able to customize the experience to exactly my liking. What we are left with on Fast Flip is kinda like a 90s/early-00s style portal pages. Here’s a bunch of content. Let me dump all this content on you.

Summary:

I’m torn. I like the idea of merging a Google Reader-esque idea with the original webpage design. I don’t like the lack of customization of what I can view.

Comments are very welcome, please leave a Reply

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