A couple of weeks ago Google Labs released Fast Flip, a way of browsing news stories from mainly print media. About 40 newspapers and magazines have partnered with Google, which then provides you with images of their news stories. (The images are in PNG format, so you can't copy the text as you might with some PDFs.) Thumbnail images of pages are presented in four rows, which filter, respectively, for "recent," "sources," "sections," or "topics." Helpfully, there's a headline below each image to let you decide where you'd like to jump into the stream. Once you've clicked on an image or headline, you're shown a readable facsimile of the page, cropped to fit a typically expanded browser window; you can then either go to the full, text story by clicking on the image or, having had your fill in the first few paragraphs, you can scroll right to the next image/story. The notion is that you're flipping through a magazine of current news.
Although there's no "law" section — there almost never is — two things might make this way into the news more useful than this general description would suggest. You have the ability to search, so the "magazine" you flip through will be of your own devising, to a degree — though, you can still only search through the cooperating media sources. And if you browse when signed in to your Google account, the double-O folks say they'll learn about your interests and promote your kind of story to the trending "topics" section.
You can share stories that appeal to you on Twitter, Delicious, Facebook, Digg and Google Reader.
[via Research Buzz]