Fast Flip A Sign of Google Cooperation With The Publishing World?

That might be a stretch. But Fast Flip, which lets readers browse through articles from popular newspapers and magazines by flipping through pages, seems like a more symbiotic relationship between the print and electronic publishing worlds than other online news aggregation sites -- including Google's own news site -- have been until now.

Google is even sharing ad revenue with three dozen publishers whose articles are included on Fast Flip.

Launched Monday, Fast Flip is an experimental service that Google said makes it easier for readers to scan through pages of articles to find stories they are interested in. Unlike Google News, which provides links to stories posted on a huge range of content producers' Web sites, Fast Flip offers up pages that are formatted more like pages in a magazine. Users can click to read the entire story or continue to "flip" sequentially through the pages to find other articles of interest.

The articles are organized in a number of ways, with the top tier offering "recent," "most read" and "headlines," for example. A second tier is organized by topic, so clicking on "music" offers up a line of current articles from the likes of Billboard and Spin, while clicking on "space" pulls up articles from BusinessWeek, The Washington Post and A third tier offers a lineup of articles from specific publications and Web sites ranging from Slate to Newsweek and Foreign Policy, allowing viewers the ability to flip through a magazine the way they would a printed copy.

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"The publishing industry faces many challenges today, and there is no magic bullet," wrote Krishna Bharat, a Google distinguished researcher, in a blog posting Monday. "However, we believe that encouraging readers to read more news is a necessary part of the solution. We think Fast Flip could be one way to help."

A noble goal, which Google is at least backing up with the revenue-sharing deals it has struck with newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post; magazines including The Atlantic, Newsweek and Redbook; and online content producers such as The Daily Beast.

Google will share with those publishers revenue earned from "contextually relevant ads," Bharat said in his blog. "This gives publishers an opportunity to introduce new readers to their content. It also tests our theory that being able to read articles faster means people will read more of them, driving more ad revenue to publishers," he said.

In June Les Hinton, chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, famously referred to Google as "a digital vampire" that's sucking the blood out of the newspaper business.

Fast Flip and its advertising revenue sharing could be the start of a blueprint for publishers. If nothing else, it's a good first step as the "old" and "new" media worlds learn to work together rather than one sucking the life out of the other.