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Google starts digital content subscription service

Google Inc. has launched a service to make it easy for publishers to sell digital versions of newspapers and magazines on Wednesday, a day after Apple Inc. announced a controversial subscription plan for media sold through its application store.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt delivers a speech at the GSMA Mobiel World Congress in Barcelona
Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt delivers a speech at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday.Albert Gea / REUTERS
/ Source: Reuters

Google Inc. has launched a service to make it easy for publishers to sell digital versions of newspapers and magazines on Wednesday, a day after Apple Inc. announced a controversial subscription plan for media sold through its application store.

Google said its new One Pass service allows publishers to sell content that consumers can view on websites as well as in specialized apps designed for smartphones and tablet PCs. Publishers can charge for content in a variety of ways, including subscriptions, metered access and sales of single articles, Google said in a post on its company blog on Wednesday.

The service also lets publishers provide existing print subscribers with free or discounted access to digital content, Google said.

On Tuesday, Apple introduced a long-awaited subscription plan for media companies that provide content in specialized apps for iPad and iPhone users.

The service allows Apple to keep 30 percent of customer payments to any publisher with a presence in its App Store. The service also lets consumers decide how much personal data to supply publishers when they sign up for subscriptions. Analysts have said Apple's new plan risks angering content developers.

It was unclear from the Google blog post how much of a cut Google will take from its One Pass service. Google was not immediately available for comment.

In its blog post, Google said the service lets publishers set their own prices and terms for their content.

Google said that One Pass is currently available for publishers in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the United States.