Google Answers Apple With More Flexible Digital Content Payment Plan

Google today introduced a new payment service for digital content called One Pass. It allows online publishers to sell their media on the Web and through mobile apps using the Internet giant's standing payment service, Google Checkout, while letting readers access the content with their Google email address and password.

The news of Google One Pass comes on the heels of Apple's digital subscription plan that is somewhat controversial as some industry watchers believe it is too restrictive and gives Apple an unfair cut in the revenue sharing equation.

"At Humboldt University in Berlin today, Eric Schmidt announced Google One Pass, a service that lets publishers set their own prices and terms for their digital content. With Google One Pass, publishers can maintain direct relationships with their customers and give readers access to digital content across websites and mobile apps," writes Lee Shirani, director, business product management, Google Commerce, today in a One Pass blog post.

Google's payment protocol appears to be more flexible and publisher-friendly than Apple's system, which calls for Apple to keep 30 percent of any sale of digital content -- e-books, music or online magazines for instance -- made within an iPhone or iPad app. Apple also retains ownership of subscribers' email addresses and names, though they can opt to also give the information to publishers as well.

Though Google did not say in the blog post the amount it plans to take in the split with online publishers, several reports including mocoNews and the New York Times are citing the number at 10 percent.

"Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content," says Shirani in the blog post.

One Pass also allows publishers to offer metered access and "freemium" content in addition to standard subscriptions.

"Publishers can customize how and when they charge for content while experimenting with different models to see what works best for them—offering subscriptions, metered access, 'freemium' content or even single articles for sale from their websites or mobile apps," says Shirani. "The service also lets publishers give existing print subscribers free (or discounted) access to digital content. We take care of the rest, including payments technology handled via Google Checkout."

TAGS:

Google, ecommerce, mobile, Apple, online payment

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