Publishers can be forgiven if they're a little wary when Google says it wants to help them, given the mixed blessing that free distribution of their content by Google has given them.
Nevertheless, Madhav Chinnappa, Strategic Business Partner Development Manager for Google News & Books, says the company's new paid-content initiative, One Pass, is truly designed to aid publishers. "We're doing this because we want to help. I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but it's true," he says.
One Pass is a tool that manages access, authorization and payment for publishers' content, directly from the publishers' websites. It is a payment system that enables publishers to set the prices and terms for access to their digital content, with flexibility to allow different subscription models. They can vary the length of subscription, use a metered model, sell single articles or a "day pass" and give subscription discounts.
"We believe in experimentation in this space, because we don't know what will work for each publisher," Mr Chinnappa says.
"We are still developing One Pass. It isn't going to amaze you," he says. "You're not going to get a 'wow' out of One Pass. It just works. It needs to be simple to work. We're developing it in steps."