Google’s One Pass Aims to Target Apple Publishers

Google has just announced on their blog a new publishing initiative, called Google One Pass. CEO Eric Schmidt introduced this today at Humboldt University in Berlin. With the backlash over Apple’s new subscription policy, publishers looking to head elsewhere (if they actually jump ship from iOS is another story) can do so with Google One Pass.

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.

Google One Pass is easy to implement and simple to manage. The set up is minimal and content will be managed through a simple online interface, so publishers can try out different approaches to selling content with minimal development cost and see what works for their business. It is powered by Google Checkout, so publishers’ e-commerce and payment processing needs are covered, and there is no need to build a third-party payment system into publishers sites.

Publishers have control over how users can pay to access content and set their own prices. They can sell subscriptions of any length with auto-renewal, day passes (or other durations), individual articles or multiple-issue packages. Google One Pass also enables metered models, where a publisher can provide some content or a certain number of visits for free, but can charge frequent visitors or those interested in premium content based on the business model that the publisher prefers.

It also allows publishers to grant access to existing subscribers through a coupon-based system — so it is easy to give full online access to current customers. Publishers can give their customers codes verifying their subscription status, or can seamlessly offer content to existing subscribers via solutions enabled by Google One Pass.

Google One Pass operates across multiple sites, so you can easily manage content across all of your online properties. It also offers payments in mobile apps, in instances where the mobile OS terms permit transactions to take place outside of the app market.

The idea of Google One Pass is to allow “purchase-once, view anywhere functionality” for digital newspapers and magazines. With the proliferation of Android smartphones, if Google gets this right they could give big publishers an alternative to Apple’s ecosystem. One major issue with One Pass would be the fragmented Android userbase. If there is a particular firmware requirement to access One Pass, users held hostage waiting for updates from carriers and manufacturers would be the major issue.

Apple wants their rightful share of profits from publishers that want to be part of their ecosystem. It looks like Google is going to do the same, by undercutting Apple. Anything, to sell more Android handsets, right?

[Official Google Blog]

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