So Google decided to break the Internet paradigm today by releasing a new tool called Fast Flip. It’s essentially a visual browser for news. Google apparently has far too much spare CPU time in its datacenters so they decided to take image snapshots of news pages.
This is solid evidence that Google has lost its collective mind. The Internet is about links and connecting content to content. I felt slightly stupid when I clicked on what looked like a search box in one of the snapshots only to find out it’s not a search box but an image of one.
Is there research out there that supports the theory that people want visual artifacts (in the form of snapshots, thumbnails and the like) vs. the actual content? Searchme, a cover flow-style search engine, tried to fulfill a similar phantom need. They raised a ton of venture capital to deliver this visual browse search engine. Nobody cared and now they’re gone.
What’s interesting about this tool is that it’s the anti-Readability. Instead of helping us get rid of the junk around what we’re trying to read, Google fossilized the layout – junk and all – in images.