A mere day after Apple met with lukewarm reaction to a subscription model for media apps for the iPhone and iPad, Google announced a rival approach it says will put more money in the pockets of publishers, and will work across the web and on mobile apps — a one-login system to rule them all.
Google’s One Pass system promises to let publishers set up an easy subscription and paywall system so that a user who buys a subscription via their desktop browser can access the same content on a mobile phone browser or in the publication’s apps. Readers will login via their Google account and pay via Google Checkout.
The announcement is clearly Google’s answer to
Apple’s subscription offering — and as usual Google is competing by being more open than Apple.
Google is also setting up a clear choice for publishers — go with something that works for just the popular iPhone and iPad at a steep price (30% of a subscription bought through an app), or go with a system that works for the web and apps, regardless of what device a reader is using, at a much lower price (somewhere in the range of 10%, according to a company spokeswoman).
Many digital publishers see readers new found willingness to pay for mobile phone and tablet apps as a way to actually charge for content in the internet age, counteracting the decline of revenue that many traditional publications have faced in an age where readers expect and get content free on the web.
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