Google Fast Flip and Bing Visual Search: experimenting on users vs. utility

What’s Fast Flip? It’s an experiment to see what live news content we’ll click through on when standing 20 feet away. Like a newsstand, without the ambiance. Could I get a copy of Giant Skyscraper Ad Quarterly, and some gum, please?

Google Fast Flip: Which one of these blocks of unreadable text is not like the other? 
Google Fast Flip: Which one of these blocks of text is not like the other?

Utility in Fast Flip’s hero scenario (described here) is not in selecting, but in “flipping”
between news articles, which it does well enough, but with many missing affordances & constraints (like not being able to view the whole article.) Flip needs to be browser functionality, not a web app. Maybe such functions will push into IE or Chrome at some point.

I think of Bing Visual Search as an experiment too, but it puts its filter & decide utility right up front (scenarios described on the Bing blog here.)

Bing Visual Search displaying top apps   
 Bing Visual Search lets users decide between top apps.

I imagine snapshots of news loaded into Bing Visual Search, and, vice versa, visual searches plugged into Fast Flip. Both would work, but Visual Search would be the sexier decision front end for either, especially if Bing worked with browser tabs (it doesn’t seem to at the moment) and with “DeepZoom” to handle resolution issues.

Speaking of sex, as the US wakes up the the results of the Fast Flip experiment are becoming clear… we click through on skin and scandal, no matter how far away it is:

Pages showing skin and the word 'cheat' 
This morning’s “Most Viewed” on Google Fast Flip

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