Google unveiled an offbeat new news reader yesterday, which allows viewers to scan newspaper and magazine pages as they appear in print. Dubbed “Google Fast Flip,” it displays a set series of pages pre-cached by Google, to avoid loading times on the sites themselves. “If your brain is stuck in 1969 and you want to pretend that new-fangled computer in front of you is a microfilm reader, it’ll feel natural to use,” writes Rafe Needleman of CNET.
It might be a good solution for those who like to scan newspapers or magazines, but right now it feels forced, Needleman says. You can’t scroll down to read the whole page, only the screenshot of the top portion that Google’s showing you. Links and multimedia don’t work; clicking anywhere on the image will take you to the original web page. Yes, web pages often load too slowly, but this feels like it’s trying to revive dead-page publishing. “Hey Google," he writes, "wasn’t HTML invented for a reason?”