Anything Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) can do, can Google (NSDQ: GOOG) do better? Twenty-four hours after the former announced its subscription plans, the latter – as we reported it would – finally unveiled its long-awaited big content subscription play – a significant extension on top of Google Checkout called One Pass (announcement, sign-up)…
The announcement is no doubt timed to target brows furrowed by Apple’s own. The subtext is juxtaposition – Google’s key descriptors suggest it wants to depict One Pass as more flexible and more attractive than iTunes Store…
— “Lets publishers set their own prices and terms for their digital content” (subtext: no arbitrary 30 percent commission).
–“Publishers can maintain direct relationships with their customers” (subtext: no frustrations on getting customer data).
— “The service also lets publishers give existing print subscribers free (or discounted) access to digital content” (subtext: no stipulation that mobile editions must price-match others)
— “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” (subtext: unites web and device subs).
— “Users only need one login to access news anywhere” (hypothetically, a Google Account could get you toas well as on any device).
Focus Online,, Media General (NYSE: MEG), NouvelObs, Bonnier’s Popular Science, Prisa and Rust Communications are aboard as partners.
One Pass goes considerably beyond Google’s previous routine protestations that it’s helping the news business – First Click Free and the somewhat lamer Fast Flip and Living Stories – and is instead being ambitiously touted as a broad suite of paid content technologies for the industry.
Google had been working on with Italian publishers over the last year, then called Newspass.
One Pass also closes the loop between print subscriptions and digital editions by offering customers of the former access to the latter using a “coupon”.
But, though our source told us Google’s system would beat Apple by taking 10 percent of new in-app subscription revenue, there’s no discernible mention of Google taking anything.
Google’s final line reads like a dig at Apple’s new bar on subscription sign-ups linked from subscription apps: “(One Pass) also offers payments in mobile apps, in instances where the mobile OS terms permit transactions to take place outside of the app market.”
Here’s the rest…