On Wednesday, Google announced One Pass, a new payment system for online newspapers, magazines, and other media. The day before, Apple rolled out its own subscription service for iPads. The media world was less than pleased with Apple's plan, which demands a 30% cut of subscription revenue. One Pass, meanwhile, allows for much more flexibility. It works across all platforms — not just mobile phones and tablets — and publishers can charge readers in many more ways than Apple's strict plan allows. Plus, Google demands just 10 percent of One Pass revenue. Will Google's plan top Apple's? (See a Google One Pass demo)
A lot depends on design: On its face, Google's plan is much better — but the big question is, "what kind of visual experience Google can provide," says Seth Weintraub at Fortune. We've already seen "beautiful periodicals built for Apple's iPad," while Google is "traditionally light on its graphic interface capabilities." Can Google up its game?
"Google woos publishers from Apple with 10% One Pass cut"
Google will have to transcend its publishing past: Up to this point, Google "hasn't exactly been the most constructive force in publishing," says Scott Moritz at The Street. The company is known for throwing the "conventional subscription media business" into chaos, since newspaper and magazine stories are readily and freely available through its search results. It remains to be seen whether One Pass can help Google turn the corner.
"Google One Pass vs. Apple: Tech edge"
These plans aren't necessarily rivals: Because of the timing, "it's easy to see One Pass primarily as a competitor to Apple's subscription plans," says Joshua Benton at the Nieman Journalism Lab. But Google's plan is actually all about "web access, not app access." Most people don't pay to read news on their phones, so One Pass will largely apply only to computers. That's not a direct challenge to Apple.
"Take that, Cupertino! Google undercuts Apple's subscription plan with a cheaper one of its own"