Mail Online Kicking Google OnePass’ Tyres

Associated Newspapers is due to test out Google’s OnePass system for accessing and paying for content, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has confirmed.

The publisher of the UK’s most-read newspaper website, the Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT) counterpart Mail Online, has not yet concretely agreed to sign up and deploy the technology, Google’s strategic partner development manager for Google News and Books, Madhav Chinnappa, told delegates at The Guardian‘s Changing Media Summit on Wednesday.

“Associated Newspapers has signed up to look at it. They haven’t committed,” Chinnappa said.

This interest may prompt speculation about Mail Online introducing charging. But Associated has repeatedly pinned its colours to the mast on this point, saying the title will remain free on the web to exploit advertising at scale. Associated is also likely evaluating numerous such technologies at the same time, as publishers tend to in order to stay abreast of developments.

There’s no suggestion Mail Online is about to jump toward paid. Even in mobile, it this month has done the opposite, adding a free, ad-supported option to its subscription iPhone app.

Associated is a newly confirmed addition to the seven preliminary OnePass partners Google announced when it unveiled the scheme in Berlin last month.

They were Tomorrow Focus,, Media General (NYSE: MEG), NouvelObs, Bonnier’s Popular Science, Prisa and Rust Communications. There had been chatter about Associated’s involvement at the time, but Google’s announcement literature at the time had not referred to the publisher.