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Google Wants To Ease News Browsing With Fast Flip

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the see-page-17-for-details dept.

The Media 125

CWmike writes "Google is developing a product called Fast Flip that aims to make it simpler and faster to browse through news articles on the Web, a process the company says is cumbersome and discourages people from reading more online. Fast Flip, which lets readers glance at pages and browse through them quickly without having to wait for multiple page elements to load, was expected to go live late Monday at the Google Labs Web site. The idea is to try to replicate online the ease with which people flip through the pages of print magazines and newspapers in the offline world. This could motivate people to read more online, which Google argues will help publishers attract more readers and increase their revenue. However, when users click on a Fast Flip link, they will be taken to the corresponding publisher's Web site, where the Google technology will not be on hand to display the page more quickly."

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Fast flip? (4, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422005)

How about just putting less crap on news pages so they load quickly?

Re:Fast flip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422031)

That wouldn't let them sell as much advertising, so it won't happen.

Re:Fast flip? (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422163)

Use gnash and multiple tabs. You would be surprised at how fast the web is when you ignore the most obnoxious spam and let page 2, 3, 4, and 5 load while you read page1. Fast flip is firmly aimed at people with browsers that suck. Google would do better to encourage people to leave the Windows world.

Re:Fast flip? (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422237)

Or they are going to bring the tech to all worlds. The problem with your method is not that it doesn't work, but that it takes effort. People are lazy and want it done for them, and I don't see in this case why software shouldn't do the task for them. Switching from windows isn't always viable or smart in all cases.

Online I just read headlines then decide if I want to go further, but some people may not like that method and may want to see pictures/more of the article like a real newspaper.

I personally may not use this product/service but I can see how it would be useful.

Re:Fast flip? (2, Funny)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422625)

People are lazy and want it done for them

No kidding. Mind telling me what TFA actually says?

Re:Fast flip? (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422855)

I see what you did there.

Re:Fast flip? (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422869)

No kidding. Mind telling me what TFA actually says?

You mean you actually care? I'm just here to make fun of comments and the occasional first post.

Re:Fast flip? (3, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422257)

This is much more useful when out of 30 articles a site posts, you might be interested in 2. In the traditional way, you would have to go to the new sites page, open up the pages for each of the sites sections, skim through the lis of headlines to catch the ones you are interested it, and read them.

With this, you can look at every single article page, and stop for the interesting ones, while taking less than a second for each of the pages you are not interested in. Like with a magzine, you flip through all the articles, and stop at the ones that caught you eye, such as by a headline keyword, or interesting image.

Re:Fast flip? (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422617)

I'm not sold. Your browser and set up might be painful but mine are not.

Sort of like this [google.com] Google News and decent clients [kde.org] do very nicely for me. Keyword search, maybe an image or two. You don't need a lot of fancy graphics to make that work, just a browser and OS that can handle the load. Three or four browsers with 40 or 50 tabs is a sweet spot of good research. Each browser has a topic or two that interest me. I don't have to read it all at once because my OS has months worth of uptime.

We'll see what comes of all this but the last thing I want to do is go back to a newspaper format. Perhaps Google can make something cool, but I like minimal with good search.

Re:Fast flip? (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422671)

Very often the story is in the first few paragraphs. This way you can read the important bits without every leaving Google....

Re:Fast flip? (1)

umberto_soprano (1594477) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423653)

the new generation: "we're afraid to leave Google!"

Re:Fast flip? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423713)

Thankfully, Portuguese newspapers still have a crap free online presence: http://economia.publico.clix.pt/noticia.aspx?id=1400709&idCanal=57 [publico.clix.pt]

The only ad in that page is the small "Clix" jpg image in the right corner.

Re:Fast flip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29424081)

While I didn't see any adds that page tried to load 43 scripts on my computer, besides teh ones already blocked there were at least 4 different sources that wanted permission to run scripts on my machine.

You call that crap free?

Re:Fast flip? (1, Funny)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422479)

Use gnash and multiple tabs [. . . f]ast flip is firmly aimed at people with browsers that suck. Google would do better to encourage people to leave the Windows world.

Hmm? The only browser of any consequence in the "Windows world" that doesn't have tabs is IE6, and even that's found mostly in corporate environments these days. IE7, IE8, Firefox, Opera, Chrome... they all have tabs.

Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.

Ah. Now I get the point of your post. And why it takes an insightful mod to get your posts scored back up to zero.

Re:Fast flip? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422225)

I can't imagine how folks with dialup can manage anymore. There is so much cruft on most pages, lately, that it is even hosing my high speed cable. Thank you /. for keeping it simple.

Re:Fast flip? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422241)

Personally, when I'm using a dial up connection (like on the island I vacation on) I deliberately load up the mobile versions. They look awkward, but they load like I've got a broadband connection.

Re:Fast flip? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424575)

Uh.. how? mobile.slashdot.org for instance justs gets you to a full-graphics page about cell phones...

Re:Fast flip? (0, Troll)

shelly.green (1631649) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423767)

that might provide us a quick view of these website . http://www.dvdorderstore.com/ [dvdorderstore.com]

Re:Fast flip? (3, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422333)

How about just putting more news on those crap pages so they read better?

Re:Fast flip? (3, Insightful)

CityZen (464761) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422527)

That's exactly what I thought. Only problem is that most of that crap is advertising, which is presumably what brings in the money.

I can hear the complaints already: Google is providing yet another way to cut off our revenue stream!

I just tend to avoid news sites that don't present me with a list of summaries I can view before deciding to hit the article itself.

Re:Fast flip? (2, Insightful)

TiggsPanther (611974) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423095)

Most of the crap wouldn't be so bad, only most ad-supported pages block on the main content until the adverts are loaded. And, personally, if it takes longer to load the ads than the content then I quickly read the content, ignore the ads more than ever, and mentally blacklist the site for a while.

This can be annoying in and of itself but it becomes worse if you're on a bad connection or if, perish the thought, the ad-server slows down.
I've had these before. In one case, the link was s slow somewhere on the chain that it took a couple of minutes to get as far as the logon page for one site so I could access the ad-free version.

And then we have the sites which put an advert in before the content, or who split the articles into multiple (ad-supported) pages.

If the companies really want to protect their revenue stream then they need to make sure that aforementioned stream (the adverts) doesn't get seen as "crap" by readers. Relevance and not slowing the site to a crawl would help. Yes, some of us out here will dislike advertising on principle, but it will help in the public view if the adverts don't make it hard to get to the content that people go there for in the first place. Making reading the articles feel like effort really isn't a good buiness plan, surely?

first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422013)

first post, brought to you by fast flip

That's not the first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422113)

niggers can't count

Re:That's not the first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29423475)

so? white men can't jump

Micropayments: The Real story (5, Informative)

mantis2009 (1557343) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422033)

This article and summary missed the most important part of the story. Or, in journalism jargon, they blew the lede. Google plans to make Fast Flip a new platform for subscription-based news reading. You pay Google a tiny amount (say $.05) for every article that you want to read. Google keeps 30% of that amount, and the remaining 70% goes to the news organization that published the story. This way, Google thinks, people will pay for news stories again. Because the cost to the reader will be very low, and less of an up-front than a $15.00 per month newspaper subscription. And, you need to only pay one organization for all the news that you can consume: Google.

Re:Micropayments: The Real story (2, Interesting)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422699)

People have never really paid for news stories. You think $15 could possibly cover the costs of printing and delivering a months worth of papers? Advertising always paid for the content, which in the endless search for neutrality to avoid losing any ad-viewers (Erm, readers...) has helped drive the quality to zero.

Of course that said it would be nice to see this create actual incentives for news organisations to create good quality content in a much more competitive environment. Since, I doubt they'll ever be able to attract significant readership with another generic sports and book/movie promotion (Erm, culture...) column.

Re:Micropayments: The Real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29423769)

> People have never really paid for news stories.

Take a look at Newsweek. Count the number of adverts. Now compare it to any other magazine.

Re:Micropayments: The Real story (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425341)

While advertising always paid for the content, the biggest cost was distribution. Your right, the $15 didn't cover the cost of printing and distributing those huge stacks of paper in a month.

However, with this new arrangement, their largest costs, the actual printing and distribution, are gone. The internet (and Google) allow them to go from 100,000 subscribers to 4million subscribers overnight, with just about nothing in extra costs. For every 1,000,000 article reads at a nickel each, your talking about $35,000 after Google gets its cut. This is the same as how artists can make more money selling 99 cent songs on Itunes than they could selling $15 albums in stores.

Re:Micropayments: The Real story (1)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425451)

I mean they'll have to put more effort into getting those article reads. With newspapers they could just stick generic content up and be done with it. Now people can be selective and generic content won't get anywhere near the 1,000,000 views or whatever they might wish.

Re:Micropayments: The Real story (1)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423603)

Wow - that is important then. I wondered how the publishing companies were going to make people pay for their content if they hid it behind a barrier. Micropayments don't work if everyone has to do them seperately on every single site and every single time you want to pay for content - you need a one click payment system. Google can provide that, because they are large and they are trusted. Moreover this gets around the issue that Publishers had that users won't be able to find their content - they'll still give Google access to it for indexing, you'll just have to pay to view it. I wonder how much Yahoo! and Microsoft are pooing their pants right now.

Making the act of reading more interesting? (1)

meketrefi (1590185) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422035)

'Kind of sad to have to try "fostering" the act of reading. I say let them in the dark.

Re:Making the act of reading more interesting? (5, Funny)

Draykwing (900431) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422247)

I think you accidentally a word.

Re:Making the act of reading more interesting? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424903)

It was no accident. Actually, meketrefti is a genius, who has been working on a new, unified theory of intelligence. As part of this research, he's developed a new form of communication, which conveys information directly into the mind without misunderstanding. It's really an astounding piece of work; a true tour de force, right up there with the greatest advances mankind has ever made. What's more, it's such an elegant theory that I can explain it in a few simple words. Here's how it works:

Well, you and then. Suddenly, voila... hard AI singularity responds human thought.

Cool, huh?

Re:Making the act of reading more interesting? (1)

PiSkyHi (1049584) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425531)

I usually in the dark. Doesn't everybody ?

Re:Making the act of reading more interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29425873)

I usually in the dark. Doesn't everybody ?

I only if I accidentally, personally.

Hmm, it seems I accidentally two words.

How is it faster? (1)

longtailedhermit (1544819) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422063)

It claims it gets you the pages faster, but if it redirects you to the publisher's website as the summary says. wouldn't that make it as slow and cumber as reading from the original source where you hahve to keep clicking 'next'?

i just tried looking at elle out at fastflip.googlelabs, and so far, it seems no different than it would be to use the original source.

check this bad review from pc world:

" Google's experimental Fast Flip is a new way to consume online news, but not a better one. It falls into the trap of trying to make a computer imitate real-life. Rarely does this have a happy ending.

Fast Flip tries to make online news more like reading a newspaper or magazine, giving users pages to flip or slide through. (See it here).

There are short or truncated headlines and lots of terribly rendered pages in Fast Flip. The user interface is a mess and I found it took longer to access news in Fast Flip than on the regular Google News page."

google also mentions it is designed with targeted advertising in mind. it de

err gf is giving me grief......

Re:How is it faster? (2, Informative)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422213)

I looked at it and it looks interesting to me. The idea would be that If you had a favorite publication could could flip through all the latest articles, stopping if you notice something interesting. Or you can flip through major headline pages for the same thing. Or flip through the headlines in a specific field. You might notice an interesting image on an article, or an eye catching keyword in a headline. But for those that don't interest you, you can flip right past in a fraction of a second. Like in a magazine you might flip too fast to stop when something catches your eye, so you flip back a few pages.

The fast-flip name comes from the fact that the pages are pre-rendered by Google, and as soon as you arrive at the site it starts downloading as many of the images as it can, so you browser can display them without delay. Using the arrow keys on my keyboard, it is easily possible to flip past 10 pages in three seconds. (Image preloading will handle short bursts at that speed, but the maximum sustain flipping speed is somewhat less than that, or you start getting placeholders showing instead of article images.)

Re:How is it faster? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422477)

It does look interesting. The single most interesting thing is that Google is in on the conspiracy to force me to purchase a larger monitor. I mean, NO WAY can I read any print, except the largest headlines!!

Interesting, yes. Potentially useful, yes. I'm afraid I'm not jumping on the bandwagon though.

Re:How is it faster? (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423585)

The print-size issue is significant.

Since Google just do a quick-and-dirty page render into a JPEG and serve that to you, many of your browser's capabilities go straight out the window. You can't apply your own stylesheet, can't zoom text (unless you scale the image, which is not the same thing), can't copy'n'paste or... oddly enough... select, right-click and Google search.

Re:How is it faster? (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424939)

The pre-rendering is the easy part of the problem. The newspaper sites could themselves cache and pre-render the content if they really wanted to. The tougher problem is reporting. Counting ad impressions, page hits and link clicks. The paper needs to know as much information about you as possible so that they can sell as much advertising space as possible.

Fast flipping through ten articles would be much different from a user clicking through ten articles on the site itself. For how long did the user rest his eyes on each article? Did he see the ads? What link did he click on after reading the article about X? Etc.

less information but less visual stress (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425623)

The Fast Flip format actually contains less information than RSS reader, which also displays just the headline and possibly a summary and a picture. A lot of the times, you can't even make out the headline in the Fast Flip thumbnail (they ought to make it bigger), and RSS reader wins in text legibility. But I think the reason why Fast Flip is such a pleasure to use is because they prove to cause less visual stress.

Compare a "tag cloud" that makes a tag bigger in font size if it's more popular, and a tagging system that makes all tags the same size but prints an integer next to the tag to indicate popularity. The tag cloud format is much more visually accessible.

What the online news publishers ought to do is to provide snippets of popular news stories, but make snippets of popular stories bigger in font size, and less popular ones smaller.

Very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422081)

I have to say, it's a very nice alternative to Google Reader and RSS feeds. It gives a bit more context and is a lot friendlier to more visual thinkers.

A few factors in load time.... (3, Informative)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422083)

is not only the number of elements on a page but the type of data that constitute those elements as well as the virtual location of them. With ads being more bloated as time goes on and various Java/Flash components being added to webpages over time webpages in general tend to load slower. Of course utilizing a high-speed connection and using a fast PC helps mitigate that problem. One thing that annoys me is when the ads have to be served from external links and those links don't work. I'm thinking the google analytics content and the atdmt.com (I believe that's the domain) ads. It might help to not have content spread over multiple pages as well, which of course is only performed to increase the ad exposure for the readers.

Re:A few factors in load time.... (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422663)

One thing that annoys me is when the ads have to be served from external links and those links don't work.

This happens because ad serving companies are cheap. Too cheap in fact to pay for servers and bandwidth to actually serve ads quickly. So instead they let their low end servers strain under crushing loads 24/7 hovering just on the edge of crashing because wasting your time costs them nothing. Yet another reason to use Ad Block Plus [mozilla.org] . Go ahead, use the nuclear option; the ad companies don't give a shit about you so why should you give a shit about them?

Re:A few factors in load time.... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425765)

If they are that much on the margin, then it wouldnt take much to really break them and NOT work at all, giving them zero revenue for a day.

Re:A few factors in load time.... (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422893)

over time webpages in general tend to load slower.

Not just load slower but read slower. Advertising has a very real cognitive cost associated with them that advertisers like to pretend doesn't exist. And that cost is now getting ridiculous.

---

Ad's devalue other ad's.

Re:A few factors in load time.... (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423211)

not only the number of elements on a page but the type of data that constitute those elements as well as the virtual location of them. With ads being more bloated as time goes on and various Java/Flash components being added to webpages over time webpages in general tend to load slower.

All that is completely irrelevant once you block the bloat elements (flash, ads, etc). And, it seems even in this new service they are still a problem:
Take this story [googlelabs.com] . Looking at it (after disabling Ad-block) shows two ads, and an incomplete article.

Once you press the link, you get into this page [nationalreview.com] which shows the complete article infested with blinking and moving ad-banners.

I have been using Adblock Plus since maybe 5 years (used Adblock before), and nowadays I cannot stand browsing the internet in its "native" form.

A service like this could be good if it re-paginated the web pages in a way easier to read for the eye (something like Microsoft Word reader mode, or Acrobar Reader fullscreen-two-pages, with a big enough monitor).

Re:A few factors in load time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29423693)

Negative on anything "Microsoft" mode. And while PDF might be ok, just plain text, with *all* the text of the story on the same (scrollable with the browsers native scrollbars) would be the simplest.

As far as too tiny fonts, horrid colors and similar ilk, try http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/

Re:A few factors in load time.... (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424209)

I'm thinking the google analytics content

You've discovered Google's devious plan: -

1. make the entire web really slow.
2. make the web really fast again!!! (if you pay us)
3. ...
4. profit!

I am reading online right now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422089)

Isn't slashdot our demographic's answer to this lack of reading problem?

It's live... (1)

hairguitar (853018) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422097)

...and newsprint is dead (assuming of course newspapers keep up with archaic 20th century technology like the "internets").

is it good for slower connections?? (1)

srinathhs (1637523) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422105)

I just had a look, they say you dont hav to wait for pages to load..!!! crap, this is more painfull.. you hav to wait for "images" to load..as we are in a part of world where internet is still too damn slow, its of very less use.. also put some ad blockers and turn of styles ur page loads lightning fast..!! y use this one..!

Re:is it good for slower connections?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422181)

You're missing the point - it's about getting a fast overview of data from traditional news sources. More info than an RSS feed, less than checking out every magazine.

Re:is it good for slower connections?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422623)

sooo... like rss feeds with pictures and ads?

Reinventing NNTP pre-loading (1)

dleigh (994882) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422119)

This is why I like reading usenet and mail in an offline reader - just press the space bar or an arrow key and the next page/article *instantly* appears on the screen.

There are existing web page pre-fetch/pre-cache systems that work similarly to the system the article describes - if only they were combined with simple keyboard navigation....

Re:Reinventing NNTP pre-loading (1)

shird (566377) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422375)

Google reader has "J" and "K" keyboard navigation to go the the next/prev article.

In fact, most online RSS aggregators have keyboard navigation. This is not quite the same as what google flip is however. Being able to see images, page layout and headlines combined on a page and the next/previous pages just out of the corner of your eye is closer to reading a real magazine.

Google Groups paved the way (1)

Greg Lindahl (37568) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422145)

Years after producing a crappy UI for Google Groups, which was worse than the threaded text-based readers most people read Usenet with, Google finally gets a clue? Say it isn't so!

Re:Google Groups paved the way (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425691)

Nope, no such luck. This has got to be the lamest thing I've ever seen come out of Google. The "fast flip" is just a bunch of screen shots of articles from various sites. Imagine that someone went to, say, Slashdot, clicked on an article, and took a screen shot of the browser window. Repeat for each article. Then they arranged them all with previous/next buttons to "fast flip" from one to another. That's exactly what Google has done here. Just a bunch of static PNGs. Color me unimpressed.

fastflip with w3m (3, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422161)

I use w3m for fastflipping. It's a text browser, so it doesn't load hundreds of kb worth of images and advertisements for each page, while still showing the text in a form that's close to the graphical layout. Also, it never loads javascript include files, which tend to slow down page flipping a lot, and never crashes due to embedded flash objects.

Basically, it lets you flip pages on the web as fast as is physically possible and... Oops, look at the time, gotta go!

Re:fastflip with w3m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422689)

Accesses to all manner of tracking and advertising servers which explicitly prevent content from loading before they perform their nonsense is what is really slowing down web sites.

With todays technology everything can load instantly if the content owners wanted it to. Its a political issue.

Re:fastflip with w3m (1)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425157)

I can't help but read "Don't text me bro [namazu.org] " in the title of that webpage.

Firefox has it now (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422219)

With a fun extension called AutoPager.
http://www.teesoft.info/content/view/47/49/ [teesoft.info]
"automatically loads the next page of a site inline (merging) when you reach the end of the current page for infinite scrolling of content. "
You can also make it work on any new site after a few clicks.

Re:Firefox has it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422799)

It also puts spam in your google search results.

Kinda slow (1)

teamsleep (903456) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422233)

How is this fast? It's loading super slow with all these retarded images. It'd be nice to choose a category and see the top headlines without the images.
This isn't that fast at all. I agree with offline readers as well, it helps when the net isn't working. Oh well.
This wasn't that good of news to me.

Re:Kinda slow (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422289)

For me with a broadband connection the images load really quickly, and I can easily quickly flip through 100 articles in a minute, opening all the interesting ones in new tabs to read. In that period of time, I could only load say 20 article pages the normal way to decide if they are worth reading.

Re:Kinda slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29423119)

I'd rather it loaded fast, and I have broadband. Maybe not super fast, but it shouldn't have a problem with this.

Re:Kinda slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29425483)

Well, they're making two classic tradeoffs: bandwidth vs. latency and bandwidth vs. local speed.

The news sites would typically load slowly becuase of two factors: numerous requests, each with significant round-trip time, but small data. (Many of these go to ad servers, which are typically overloaded all the time, making it even worse...) One request to an image on google's server helps with the latency, but generally results in more data transferred.

Second, excessive flash ads, insane navigational javascript, and miscellaneous cruft wind up consuming massive local resources; by offloading these to google's machines (and caching the results), and just dumping an image back, the local system is unloaded and can render the page as fast as it can be received. Again, the image takes more bandwidth, but saves you local processing.

So if you're running a fast machine with a low-latency or low-bandwidth connection, the improvement is not likely to be there. If you're running a netbook on satellite or EDGE connection (decent bandwidth, but killer latency), it's likely to be significant.

And of course, if you control your own browsing with ad-blocking, flash-blocking, or host-blocking measures, it's unlikely to provide any benefit on any machine.

News Image search (1)

ubergoober (151136) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422327)

Cooliris' built-in news image search is a pretty cool step towards quick browsing. Scrolling through 50 pictures in the sports section, I click on a picture of Serena Williams and the news story associated with it surrounds it. Awesome add-on for firefox and people oooh and ahhh when I pop it up on-screen.

ROFL Google, meet the internet... (1)

memco (721915) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422387)

Holy cow I just had an idea! What if we made a way for news agencies to post little "abstracts" of their articles in one central "page" Then we could link these abstracts to a full-fledged article. This way, people could browse all of the articles at once. No more flipping pages looking for flipping articles.

Genius Google, pure GENIUS!

Sarcastic Dumb Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422463)

that's something you rarely seen on Slashdot.

Personal preference (2, Informative)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422697)

Personally, I prefer COMPLETE BULLSHIT [datafall.org]

(Reference [mspaintadventures.com] , for those who don't read MS Paint Adventures. You should.)

Re:Personal preference (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423031)

Personally, I prefer COMPLETE BULLSHIT [datafall.org]

That is totally whack.

And kinda cool. What is it?

Re:Personal preference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29423353)

Complete bullshit.

Re:Personal preference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29424439)

I don't think it is complete though

Re:Personal preference (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424651)

That thing is really badly designed. I mean the page-flipping idea is kinda OK. But it's
1. Slow as hell. It usually lags and slips way past what you pointed the mouse at.
2. Has very buggy styles. The text is cut off at the borders.
3. Does not use any usability knowledge.
      a) Lacks headlines in the boxes.
      b) Lacks lead-in sentences/paragraphs.
      c) Lacks an acceptable font.
      d) The images get cut off. Mostly in a manner that makes them useless.
      e) Has a horrible contrast ratio.
4. Has no sense of design whatsoever. There is no color harmony at all in that thing. It's more like a neon attack on your eyes/brain. And it has no air in it. It just looks like a quick hack.

There's much work to do on that thing.

Oh, wait... It's supposed to be funny...
That's sad... because it even fails at that. ^^

Re:Personal preference (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425477)

The Complete Bullshit News Aggregation page, despite obvious flaws in it's name and rainbow design has implemented a remarkably innovative news reader design. If they could figure out some way to let me personalize the reader to filter only the types of stories that I care about (like how newspapers have a Sports section, an Arts and Entertainment section, a Business section, and then a whole bunch of other sections I throw away because I don't care about them) then something like this could catch on.

Hell, this is how I read CNN.com everyday. I go straight for the Sports and Business news and the scan the headlines in the other sections looking for articles that don't look like complete bullshit. For real world news the internet is already a waste and I listen to NPR. For the tech news that I'm interested in... well... you can already tell I read Slashdot since I'm posting here.

So yeah... Complete Bullshit would be a great platform if they renamed it, let you personalized the panel colors, and then let you pick keywords for news stories that are related to things you want to read about, but not discuss.

They could start... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422725)

By putting a story, all on the *same* page instead of breaking it up into multiple tiny pages. That way, while it might take some time to load, at the very least once it was loaded you would only have to scroll locally in-browser, and not have to click 'next' and then wait while *more* crap loaded to get the next three lines of the story.

In other words, use technology that already exists properly.

And scroll *vertically* - horizontal scrolling is annoying.

And if readers have to pay, there should be NO ads, and the text should be *text* not pictures-of-text.

Google appears to be taking the pages of the news sites and rendering them as a browser would, and taking screenshots (pictures).
This *might* be useful if they then took those images, for sites that insist on spreading one story over multiple pages, and formatted them in a continuous-view much like certain PDF viewers did, so one could scroll from one 'page' to the next without waiting for more load time. Advantage for the news site is you can't block the ads, advantage for readers is you don't have to wait for ads to load, plus a screenshot of a flash ad is at least static. (Disadvantage for the advertisers is they can't target the ads)

Don't split pages. (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422745)

Too many newspapers and other news sites split articles into a bunch of pages. It takes time to get the next page to load. Some of them use standard hyperlinks for the next page and put it at the top of the page. On those sites, I can click with the middle button and have the page pre-loading in the next tab. Then which I get done reading this page, I click the tab for the next page, click with middle button for the 3rd page to start pre-loading that one, and proceed to read the 2nd page. Rinse, lather, repeat. Trouble is, too many sites use Javascript to interfere with this, probably to force people to have time to read all the ads. Google will have to face that ... that news sites really prefer to have people reading the ads instead of the news.

Re:Don't split pages. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422771)

But this is a micro payment thing. Effectively paying the news provider to take out the adverts.

Re:Don't split pages. (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422831)

If they are going to want payments, they are going to have to figure out a reliable, safe, and non-abusable, payment system. Credit cards and PayPal don't cut it.

Use AutoPager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29424977)

The [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4925]Autopager Addon[/url] combines most split pages back into one large page.

Actual link to Fast Flip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29422751)

The summary didn't seem to have it, so here's a link to the actual service:

http://fastflip.googlelabs.com/ [googlelabs.com]

Re:Actual link to Fast Flip (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#29422879)

Looks like Javascript managed preloading, maybe AJAX style. They could make the preview scrolls wrap around instead of just stop at the ends like they have now. That's not hard to do. I made this 360 degree panorama [ham.org] wrap around with a little bit of Javascript. The big difference is they move faster a finit distance and stop. Mine moves slower but keeps going until manually stopped.

I Prefer Their News Timeline (2, Interesting)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423061)

That is all. [googlelabs.com]

Irritating (1)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 5 years ago | (#29423445)

I think it's very annoying when you read the first page on Google Fast Flip, and you click through to the publisher's site, you're back at the top of the article. So you have to search the page to find which part you already read, and where to continue reading. Seems definitely not quicker to me...

This from the company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29423667)

...that has started putting images and other crap into its RSS feeds.

You had a solution to the problem then you borked it and now you're looking for a solution to the problem? Are you running out of things to do, Google?

The Future: (1)

boppacesagain08 (1317259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424025)

Slashdot overloaded with quality posts because Flash Flip allows swarms of Anonymous Cowards to RTFA before posting. Consequently, each post becomes so long an thoughtful that each one becomes the size of the actual articles, but being comments rather than articles, Slashdot users won't spend the time to read them. Apocalypse.

RSS Readers? (1)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424249)

What about Google Reader (or any other rss reader) in Expanded Mode? Loads the first paragraph of every story, you press "j" to flick to the next one. There's no network traffic between flicking at all, so it's basically instant (well under 100ms).

I fail to spot the difference, apart from having to pay for the new one. I guess Google could break Reader, but that would be kind of evil.

How is this better than RSS? (1)

Morris Thorpe (762715) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424349)

I must be missing something.
I browsed through the preloaded pages on Google; found a BBC article that looked interesting; clicked, and....then I wait for the original page to load?

So I guess the time saved is in the previewing the pages (headlines)? If that's the goal, then RSS is a much more efficient alternative.

Not a Physical Newspaper (1)

PineHall (206441) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425607)

Yes, I agree, RSS does the same thing that flipping though a newspaper would do, and I think it does it better in the digital world than this fast flipping would do. We are not dealing with a physical newspaper so tools like RSS exist so that we can find those interesting articles. We don't need fast flip. Mod up the parent.

PROTIP: (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424567)

Don't put fuckin' tiny navigational links on your sites!!
Seriously, what is it with these retard designers who choose to make the most important UI element on the site the tiniest?
Forums are the typical example. You got four screen pages of messages, and then on the bottom, there is a link that literally is just one character and looks like this is 8px font size: >>
And the page numbers are just as tiny.

The same thing is true for window managers, where the close button is a tiny dot at the edge of the window. (I removed those buttons completely and can just hold the Windows key and middle-click anywhere on a window do close it. [The left and right buttons are for movement and resizing, with the same method.])

And of course, without an ad-blocker and with all the Flash loading, it's slow as hell. For really fast reading, I recommend using a user style sheet, and disabling all author styles and images/flash.

Re:PROTIP: (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425161)

(I removed those buttons completely and can just hold the Windows key and middle-click anywhere on a window do close it. [The left and right buttons are for movement and resizing, with the same method.])

How do you do this?

Re:PROTIP: (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#29425385)

Well having a somewhat small "close" button is reasonable in the sense that it is a UI element that is less frequently used and which you don't want users to click accidentally (for many programs such a mistake is irreversible or at least annoying).

By comparison, site navigation elements should certainly be big and easy to click on, since users will need to click on them very frequently, and there is very little cost associated with a mis-click (just use the back button and you're fine).

By the way, you (and other powerusers like you) may be interested in checking-out Auto-Pager [mozilla.org] . It's a Firefox add-on that automatically loads the next page, inline, when you scroll down on a page. So instead of clicking ">>", the next page just appears. It has definitions for lots of sites (search engines, news sites, forums, etc.) and makes reading long lists of entries much faster and smoother.

Re:PROTIP: (1)

danger42 (302987) | more than 5 years ago | (#29426441)

For really fast reading, I recommend using a user style sheet, and disabling all author styles and images/flash.

But what if I like to read about entertainment/fashion? 90% of the news IS the pictures.

An inefficient solution to a non-existant problem? (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 5 years ago | (#29424587)

I'm not sure I really get what the purpose of this is, if someone can elucidate that would be great.

So people aren't reading enough online, fine, you want to highlight interesting content quickly for them to get to.

I don't see how this view actually helps users identify what is worth reading and what isn't - certainly in the small view, the pages are too small to read, you just get a view on page layout and graphics, nothing about the content or the article. Even the full-size views, are screenshots of the page and as such very inefficient (the one of the BBC article on Eddie Izzard is 80k).

Why not just syndicate/scrape the content and post it as RSS to get through more content, or alternatively, if you're after a view of what it is without the actual text, just grab graphics from sites and display those instead. I don't see how taking screenshots of it helps the provider or the reader.

Re:An inefficient solution to a non-existant probl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29426279)

It is very hard to monetize the intellectual property using that synergy lacking paradigm.

Only works w/ IE tab in FireFox for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29424935)

I must be doing something wrong. The main page looks ok, but clicking on one of the images loads nothing, unless I am in IE mode.

Google sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29426343)

Except for their search engine which was initially developed outside their current organisation, Google applications just plain suck. They have no real development methodology, they don't hire real programmers (just academia types with no practical experience) and they don't seem to be too interested in testing or documenting anything. This is one company which has successfully used their excellent search engine and reputation for that to convince the rest of you boneheads that they know what they are doing.

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