Google unveils payment platform for online content

Google unveiled an online payment platform for publishers on Wednesday, a day after Apple launched a subscription service of its own for newspapers, magazines, music and video.

Google will take a 10-percent share of revenue from subscriptions managed through "Google One Pass," less than the 30 percent charged by Apple.

The new payment system for online content was announced by 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 customize 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.

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