Think Quarterly: Google’s new online magazine

think_quarterly“In a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect,” says Google about its online quarterly publication, Think Quarterly. Launched out of the UK, the first 68 page issue has a strong focus on data with thought topics ranging from data obesity to data overload and open data by some of the industry’s finest journalists and technology leaders.

The content-rich hybrid is part Flash app, part website and is visually stunning with great presentation and in-depth articles with an emphasis on rich infographics and beautiful illustrations. Best of all, there are no ads.

“At Google, we often think that speed is the forgotten ‘killer application’ – the ingredient that can differentiate winners from the rest. We know that the faster we deliver results, the more useful people find our service,” explains Matt Brittin, Managing Director of UK & Ireland Operations at Google.

The first issue is centered around the one topic Google presumably knows best: the world of data  and its impact on business. From investing in merging markets and developing nations, to mobile NFC technology, to a timeline feature on data capture, it’s data through and through, presented by a variety of freelancers and contributers including The Guardian’s datablog editor Simon Rogers, Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence, famed psychologist Peter Kruse and Google Chief Economist Hal Varian.

The strong influence on data is, perhaps, Google’s way of delivering an informative representation of the topic from a business perspective- but without the flashy brand angle. Or, as Brittin puts it: “Our first issue is dedicated to Data – amongst a morass of information, how can you find the magic metrics that will help transform your business? We hope that you find inspiration, insights, and more, in Think Quarterly.”

It is still unclear as to the expectations to be derived from Google’s new online magazine. On the outset, Think Quarterly feels geared towards being a marketing booklet as opposed to a consumer magazine. Is Google entering the media business or is this project a mild foray into intellectual curiosity? Described as “a unique communications tool that brings together some of the world’s leading minds to discuss the big issues facing businesses today” on its Twitter account, Google steers clear of branding its newest project as a ‘magazine’ or a publication.

By far, the most innovative aspect of Think Quarterly is in its alternative views rendering, allowing for both Flash and HTML with a PDF offering available soon. For offering to be “a breathing space in a busy world”, Think Quarterly is refreshing and informative, not quite ‘game-changing’ – but a neat alternative to the online current business publications.



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