It’s a known fact that people read quickly online – if you can call it reading, that is. They scan pages at a much faster rate than they would read a book or a newspaper.
It’s an odd phenomenon, and one which we can only assume has something to do with the infinite number of choices available to the internet user, and the task-based nature of most forays online.
Just as fast as our online reading habits, if not faster, is Google’s acquisition of new products and creation of new ideas. Sometimes it feels like they are putting out a daily announcement to inform us of the next big thing, always stamped with that Google logo, and their trademark ease of use.
Next on their list is the way we read newspapers online. As you may have noticed, papers have a hard time creating their necessarily expensive online presence. In the UK, we have some admirable newspaper websites, which become more valuable by the day as stories are archived for posterity. Both broadsheets and red-tops have poured millions of pounds into their development, but as yet, a word is, have failed to find a way to fund them adequately. Advertising, subscriptions, restricted content, sponsorship… the jury’s still out as to whether any of these will really sustain such an expensive project.
For once, Google’s not claiming to have the complete answer, but in announcing Google Fast Flip, they do say:
... 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, and we’re looking to find other ways to help as well in the near future.
Fast Flip is a piece of technology which allows for super-fast browsing of newspapers, without waiting for entire pages to load. Now you can satisfy your desire to race through online text – until you find the portion you want to read, whereupon you can settle.
As with all Google products, advert placement is offered in the margins, which as a business owner, you may wish to explore. Will readers be going too fast to notice ads? No doubt many would see this as a fantastic opportunity for product placement beside content that millions will read, available even to those businesses whose budget would never stretch to an advert in the Times or Guardian print edition. Of course, the famous Google pay per click model means that if you aren’t noticed, you won’t pay.