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Sep 15, 2009

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I've got to be honest, I shuddered at first at the thought Google was turning newspapers into eBooks.

I remember magazines and newspapers revealing the eBook as their great white hope for the future and laughing from the ivory tower of a pureplay dot-com. So blind were they to what the web was doing they refused to see the obvious answer, instead recreating a failing format in a new fundamentally flawed one.

Change is needed, not a facelift to a present format. Furthermore, such formats only really work while the paper still exists, or the order and structure is entirely arbitrary. The newspaper industry needs an answer post-print - a real painkiller - not some complementary vitamins.

Google is getting beaten up both ways - for the strategy and the execution.

And I think the former is a much more serious charge. Because - as much as publishers complain - Google News does provide a commercial opportunity whereas Google Fast Flip massively reduces that opportunity.

As for the interface and design, the news aggregator is replicating web pages (so far) and not trying to do the eMagazine thing. Given users are likely to be in browse mode, I suspect it will suit them just fine. Not so the publishers.

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