Hype Machine has a cool new project out – “Fast Forward.” It’s a riff on Shuffler.fm.

Part of the fun of Shuffler is the explosion of visual design as you go from site to site. FF keeps that going, but overlays its own graphics on the source page in a way that’s sexy as hell.

The original blog page is a screen shot rather than an inline frame. It looks just like the page and when you click on the image it opens the actual live page. The original page doesn’t get a bump in its page view counter, which takes away some of the fun of Shuffler for the blogger. But the overall thing loads faster and more reliably, and the blog page can’t bust out of the frame to interrupt your playlist.

A key difference with Shuffler is that FF doesn’t play the whole song, just a snippet. It’s not supposed to be a radio experience. You don’t run FF in the background and then check back when something gets you fired up.

What you do instead is use it actively to collect things to listen to. You surf around by skipping through the playlist or letting the samples play to the end. When you come across something interesting you add it to your favorites, and eventually you leave FF, go over to your main Hypem favorites, and listen to the songs in full length.

Tip: you have to be logged in for the experience to make sense. Otherwise playback and favoriting don’t work.

I love the supersexy graphics and I like the integration with all the rest of the Hypemachine universe. But it felt like too much upfront investment to have to go through a hunting and gathering phase before actually listening.

But maybe I’m just not used to the new flow yet. It’s supposed to be a different thing, not a clone. So I won’t know until later how it works for me.

Blog post about it – http://blog.hypem.com/2011/07/fast-forward/
The thing itself – http://hypem.com/fast-forward/launch

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