We hear a lot about Google’s relationship with publishers, but this week the search giant also quietly launched its own online publication based in the UK. Think Quarterly, which calls itself a “a breathing space in a busy world” is, as the name implies, a quarterly online magazine. The design feels somewhat reminiscent of Wired, with a strong focus on infographics and large photos (but without ads). The articles come both from writers inside of Google and freelancers and the publication is designed and edited by creative agency The Church of London.
This first edition mostly focuses on the topic of “data,” but the articles run the gamut from a discussion of Near Field Communication to an interview with “data superstar” Hans Rosling. The bias is obviously towards Google products, though some of the interviews could easily stand on their own in other publications.
Update: A Google spokesperson just sent me the following, clarifying that Think Quarterly will only have a very limited offline distribution:
"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 www.thinkquarterly.co.uk."
Google made some interesting choices in presenting these articles. You can read the magazine (62 pages in this first edition) either in a full-screen view that recreates the magazine experience on the screen (this looks best on a big widescreen monitor) or as traditional online texts. You can also subscribe to the publication's RSS feed here.
It’s worth noting that a large part of the online reading experience is powered by Issuu and was not developed in-house by Google.