Think Quarterly: Google Debuts New Online Magazine

Google has pushed out into the world of publishing with the launch of a new online magazine, Think Quarterly.

Google’s new online magazine “Think Quarterly” is beautifully designed, engaging at times and wonkish at others, and never exactly a revolution in online journalism. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine

Google has quietly launched its own full-length online magazine “Think Quarterly”, a quarterly publication whose aim is to create a “breathing space in a busy world.” The first edition of the new title, based out of the U.K., is devoted entirely to data and features contributions from both Google staff and freelancers.

The company does lots of things these days. It’s not just a search engine, but it also has fingers in web browser pies with its Chrome browser, smartphone marketing with its Android platform, operating systems with Chrome OS, heck, and even self-driving cars. And now you can add publishing to that growing list

However, the search engine giant has played down the idea of it becoming a fully fledged publisher, insisting that the magazine “remains firmly aimed at Google’s partners and advertisers” and there are “no plans to start selling copies”.

“Like most companies, Google regularly communicates with our business customers via email newsletters, updates on our official blogs, and printed materials. On this occasion, we’ve sent a short book about data, called ‘Think Quarterly,’ to a small number of our UK partners and advertisers,” according to the the company’s statement.

“There are only a limited number of copies, and they aren’t for sale or designed for anyone other than our partners – but anyone who’s interested can visit the companion website at”

The first thing most people will notice when is that it’s a visually stunning piece of work. It’s a rich Flash app with Google’s quirky sensibilities and the in-depth writing. Google’s quarterly magazine is edited and designed by creative agency The Church of London.

“At Google, we often think that speed is the forgotten ‘killer application’ – the ingredient that can differentiate winners from the rest,” Matt Brittin, Google’s managing director of U.K. and Ireland operations, said in Think Quarterly‘s introduction.

“We know that the faster we deliver results, the more useful people find our service. But in a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect. Think Quarterly is a breathing space in a busy world. It’s a place to take time out and consider what’s happening and why it matters.”

The articles themselves are thought pieces about business, science and technology topics from a variety of freelancers and contributors. Google was able to snag Simon Rogers (editor of The Guardian‘s Datablog) and Ulrike Reinhard (editor of WE Magazine).

Other contributors to the magazine include Google director of research Tony Fagan, “data superstar” Hans Rosling, and University of Southampton professor Nigel Shadbolt. The next edition of the magazine will be available in May, with the third and fourth following in July and October.

Many of Think Quarterly‘s articles feature interviews with Google executives and technology leaders. Some of the people featured include Vodafone U.K. CEO Guy Laurence, Google chief economist Hal Varian and famed psychologist Peter Kruse.

It’s unclear whether the new online magazine is another sign that Google is entering the media business or whether it’s just a project to feed the company’s intellectual curiosity. Google doesn’t describe its newest project as a magazine or a publication. Instead, Google calls it a book on its website and a “unique communications tool” on its Twitter account. [Think Quarterly via Mashable, Journalism and Forbes]

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