Google has just announced the launch of One Pass, a payment system that allows publishers to charge consumers for articles and other content with a "purchase-once, view-anywhere functionality." It is powered by Google Checkout, the company's existing e-commerce facility.
For now, One Pass is to be available to publishers in the UK, US, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, and will be made more widely available in the future. The Guardian reported that the UK's Daily Mail, Spain's El Pais and Germany's Die Welt and Bild are all planning to introduce payment features using the new system.
"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," Google said.
Publishers will keep 90% of revenue from One Pass sales, the Guardian noted, compared to Apple's offer of 70%. Apple launched a new in-app subscription service yesterday, and according to the Guardian, the launch of One Pass "is understood to have been brought forward on the back of Apple's rival announcement on Tuesday."
It claims to be highly flexible in terms of what payment models are offered - subscriptions, day passes, metered access, pay-per-article, multi-issue packages - and therefore to give publishers more control over their content. Existing subscribers can receive access free through a coupon-based system.
The 'view-anywhere' concept means that readers can sign in on any device and have access to their content. "It also offers payments in mobile apps, in instances where the mobile OS terms permit transactions to take place outside of the app market," Google said. Presumably this is intended to work in Google's Android OS, and not necessarily in Apple's?
Google promises easy implementation and simple management, with no need to build a third-party payment system into publishers' sites.
In September 2009, Google made a case for providing its services as a payment platform to the Newspaper Association of America, which called for ideas. Its detailed proposition using its existing technology, made it appear a serious contender, and One Pass is seemingly the evolution of these ideas.