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Google has unveiled its much-awaited paid content offering for online publishers.
Google will take a 10% share of revenue from subscriptions managed through “Google One Pass,” less than the 30 percent charged by Apple.
The launch comes one a day after Apple launched a subscription service of its own for newspapers, magazines, music and video.
“By providing a system for user authentication, payment processing, and administration, Google One Pass lets publishers focus on creating high quality content for their readers. Publishers have flexibility over payment models and control over the digital content for which they charge and the content that is free for consumers,” says the One Pass official website.
The new payment system for online content was announced by outgoing Google chief executive Eric Schmidt in a speech at Humboldt University in Berlin.
Lee Shirani, director of business product management for Google Commerce, said publishers who opt to use Google One Pass to charge readers for digital content can set their own prices and terms.
“Readers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password,” Shirani said in a blog post.
“Importantly, the service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don’t have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices,” Shirani said.
Google said publishers can offer readers a variety of options including full subscriptions or even single articles for purchase.
“With Google One Pass, publishers can customise how and when they charge for content while experimenting with different models to see what works best for them,” Google said.
“We’ve been working with publishers for some time now to help them find ways to engage their readers, attract traffic to their sites, and make money online,” said Carlo D’Asaro Biondo, Google vice president for Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“By working with the publishing industry and experimenting with a variety of products, we can come up with tools to help journalism thrive online.”
Google said its launch partners include German publishers Axel Springer AG, Focus Online (Tomorrow Focus) and Stern.de.
Others include France’s Le Nouvel Observateur, and Spain’s Prisa.
Google’s US partners are Rust Communications, publisher of the Southeast Missourian newspaper, Media General, which operates 18 television stations and 21 daily newspapers, mostly in the southeastern United States, and Bonnier Corp., publisher of Popular Science.
Google said Google One Pass is currently available for publishers in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States.
Google’s announcement comes a day after Apple unveiled a subscription service for digital newspapers and magazines purchased through its online App Store.
While newspapers and magazines have been searching for new ways to charge for digital content and make money from mobile devices, Apple’s 30-percent cut of each subscription purchased through the App Store raised some eyebrows in the struggling publishing industry.
Apple’s subscription service was first offered with The Daily, a digital newspaper for the iPad tablet computer launched earlier this month by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
FAQ from Google
Q: Who sets the price of Google One Pass content?
Publishers decide the price and terms of the content they choose to sell through Google One Pass.
Q: Who determines the terms for access to content available through Google One Pass?
Partners determine the duration and extent of access to their content. For instance, this may include setting a one-week or 30-day limit on the accessibility of a given article.
Q: Who determines what content is accessed through Google One Pass?
Partners have total control over what content is accessed through Google One Pass and what content is free to users.
Q: How is Google One Pass implemented?
Publishers will continue to host their own content. They will upload the list of the content they want to monetise into the Google interface. Publishers will need to add a small amount of code to their website, but development effort is minimal.
Q: Why is Google launching Google One Pass?
Google cares a lot about helping high quality content thrive online and about the future of journalism. That’s also why we built things like First Click Free, Fast Flip and Living Stories.
Q: Will Google One Pass allow users to read existing subscriptions on all their devices?
Google One Pass will enable users to access content on connected, browser-enabled devices and from mobile apps where the mobile OS terms permit publishers to access the web via the app for Google One Pass transaction or authentication services.
Q: Where is Google One Pass available today?
Google One Pass is currently available in France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US and Canada. Publishers in any country where Google Checkout is available can implement Google One Pass.
Q: What types of content can Google One Pass support?
Google One Pass is currently intended for periodicals, such as news and magazines, but is a flexible payment system that can be used for many other types of content.