Google's FastFlip: Good for us! Good for media?

Google's new fastflip technology which has launched with three dozen publishers -- including Slate, Cosmopolitan and the New York Times -- implements an idea that has been around for a long time: visual search.  I think their implementation is slick, and their mobile application -- which runs on the iPhone and Android phones, is so much faster than the underlying news sites its not funny.  It actually works even on the notoriously slow AT&T network for my iPhone. clownfish_anemone_symbiosis

There is some debate as to whether or not this will be good for media companies.  Of course, there is a symbiotic relationship between content creators and their distributors.  Google does not want them dead, just dependent...  In a good year (2005), the New York Times has a net margin of 10%.  Google's is 25%.  As is true in many media, the distributor makes more than the creator.  It is in Google's interest to keep the newspapers in business.

Google -- like Amazon -- is first in the demand chain and because of that they have the best preference information.  Superior preference information is the key to keeping their margins high -- because anyone who can deliver audience always wins.  FastFlip just helps to extend that franchise.

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