Recently, I wrote about the changing face of newspapers in today's digital world. Well, the latest insight into this is that Google, everybody's favourite information hoarder, is planning to lead the pack into the digitising newspapers with their latest project, called Fast Flip.
Essentially, what Google has done is struck up an agreement with some of the major newsmakers in the world - e.g. The Washington Post and The New York Times - to collate their headlines into an intuitive interface that sorts and organises stories under relevant "tags", much like how a blog organises its posts.
Of course, being Google, money is definitely involved. Google plans to share revenue on AdSense adverts that are contextual to the content displayed, with the owners of the content. So in essence, Google is not creating the news, they are simply collecting information on one single platform, allowing you as the reader to get definitive reporting from various sources in one single place.
The catch with this project is that many news houses aren't very happy with Google's plans. FastFlip will limit their potential to "own" their own branding and be wholly in charge of their marketing. Furthermore, they'll have to share profits from advertising - one of the largest sources of income in the media world - with Google. Additionally, they're not happy with the fact that their content is being shared and perused by others - in other words, they don't have full control over their readership.
Now you may argue that these media companies should just stick to the print side of the business. But the truth is that the World Wide Web is the future. These companies won't be able to survive only on their print media, because the majority of their readership is moving online and living in the connected digital lifestyle; they're information-hungry and always searching for the latest "new" thing.
Thus, these media houses need to embrace the digital revolution and ride on innovation.
Whilst Google Fast Flip is controversial at this stage, we must take in to account the fact that it's still in Beta testing stage. There's still a lot of work left to do, and in the end I hope we'll be in for a stylish, innovative product that will surely change the way we stay in touch with the world.