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Google introduces One Pass subscription service for digital newspaper and magazine publishers [Updated]

February 16, 2011 | 10:45 am

Google introduced the subscription system One Pass on Wednesday for digital publishers. One Pass allows companies to charge for their content in various ways and across multiple websites, as well as by way of mobile apps, smart phones and tablets.

The service, which Google touts a tool that will make it easier for newspapers and magazines to sell a digital version of their publications, was launched in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the United States.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt announced the subscription service at Humboldt University in Berlin with German publishers Axel Springer AG, Tomorrow Focus and Stern.de, who are among One Pass' first users.

SchmidtOnePass The search engine and online-ad-sales giant said in a blog post that other publishers were on board as well, including Media General, NouvelObs, Popular Science, Prisa and Rust Communications.

The move came just one day after Apple announced a subscription service of its own that will give the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm a 30% cut of all subscriptions made through its iTunes App Store for newspapers, magazines, music and video content.

Apple said it only authorized users who purchased subscriptions through the App Store. If a user purchases a subscription outside of the App Store, but a publisher gives them access to digital content in-app, then Apple says it will take no cut of revenue and will not handle user authentication.

Payments for content are processed through Apple and given to publishers after the company takes its share.

In One Pass, Google said it too will also handle payment processing and user authentication.

Google did not offer details in its blog post, or in Schmidt's announcement in Germany, about what sort of revenue cut it would take for publishers who used One Pass. Google officials were not available for comment on the matter on Wednesday morning, or to address whether or not One Pass would be made for other types of content such as video and music.

One Pass also allows publishers to charge for content in a number of ways, such as per article, with a  day pass, or by way of subscription model.

Publishers also will have the option of charging using a metered model, where a set amount of content provided or a specific number of visits are free, but frequent visitors or premium content can require payment.

One Pass also allows publishers to offer those already subscribing to its paper products to gain free or discounted access to digital content across devices through the service.

[Updated 11:45 a.m.: Google spokeswoman Jeannie Hornung said in an e-mail that One Pass is free to publishers to implement on their Android apps, or on Websites and that Google will take a 10% revenue cut of each transaction completed through the new system.

Google One Pass can also be used by publishers to authenticate existing print subscribers so they can offer them free access to digital content -- and in that case Google would take no revenue share for using One Pass, Hornug said.]

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Video: Google One Pass promotional video. Credit: Google via YouTube

Photo: Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, speaks to students at Humboldt University on Feb. 16, 2011 in Berlin, Germany, where he announced Google One Pass. Schmidt's talk was called "Google in Europe: Innovations for a digital future." Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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