Google has announced that they are launching their own payment platform for digital contents like newspaper, magazines, video, music etc. Called "Google One Pass", the platform will "allow publishers to set their own prices and terms for their digital content".
Coming right after Apple opening up their subscription service to all publishers, one cannot help but feel that Google is taking on Apple yet again. However, unlike Apple's service over which many publishers are crying foul, One Pass is rather flexible for both publishers and customers.
With Google One Pass, customers can access their contents on their smartphones, tablets and on the browsers. And if someone is already an existing subscriber, the service will help publishers authenticate them so that users do not have to subscribe again.
For publishers too Open Pass provides a lot of flexibility. Publishers are given the option to choose the payment model they desire such as subscriptions, metered access, freemium contents or single articles for sale from their websites or mobile apps. And to top it off, Google is taking only a 10% cut against Apple's 30%.
This all sounds good and the fact that Google's service is based on the open web, unlike Apple's which is in-app, makes it even more exciting. However a big question is if One Pass will be able to make any significant impact.
Coming from an internet giant such as Google, One Pass is sure to attract the attention many publishers. In fact, Google has already announced that publishers such as Axel Springer AG, Focus Online, Stern.de Media General, NouvelObs, Bonnier’s Popular Science, Prisa and Rust Communications.
However the question is if the model will be successful enough for others to join in. In this regard, discussing One Pass in the open web and in-apps is important. In the open web, One Pass seems like just like the Google version of a pay wall. With so much contents on the internet available for free, the pay wall model has not been very successful for every one. So, it is might be argued that One Pass, which looks like pay wall on a much larger scale, will not succeed.
The brings us to the second point - apps. The perception of people regarding apps are rather different from the contents on the open web. In the Android Market, people are not adverse to paying for apps. So, I can see no reason why people would hesitate to pay so that they can read their favorite newspaper, magazine etc. on their smartphones, tablets etc. Being able to view these contents using their web browser would be a bonus.
So, One Pass can succeed - but it will be mainly driven by Android rather than the open web.