I'm a bit of a news junkie, but the experience of reading news online, well, bites. Sure, you can aggregate your favorite news sites into an RSS reader, but that's hardly the same experience as, say, leafing through a newspaper or magazine.
Enter Fast Flip, a new service from Google Labs. It offers a clever interface for searching, browsing, and discovering Google News content. And while it definitely has a few rough edges (remember, it's just an experiment at this point), it's already my favorite way to consume news online.
Fast Flip is divided into four collapsible main sections: Popular, Sections, Topics, and Sources. Within each you can browse the default content or drill further for more specific results. (Of course, this being Google, you can also run a search.)
I had to play a bit to get the hang of the interface, but once I did, I was sold. To my thinking, this is precisely how online content should be organized and presented. In my dream world of the future, my touchscreen-equipped color Kindle will have an interface just like this for newspapers and magazines.
Speaking of which, there's already a mobile version of Fast Flip for Android and iPhone devices, and it delivers a similar experience: choose a source, topic, or category, then browse the stories by swiping with your finger. It's pretty slick, though the small screen makes reading a bit more challenging.
My esteemed colleague David Coursey thinks Fast Flip is a bust, but I think he was too quick to judge. Let Google tweak the interface, iron out the kinks. This might just be the future of online content.
In the meantime, try Fast Flip yourself and see if you share my belief that it's a great way to peruse the news.