FRAMINGHAM 16 FEBRUARY 2011 - Google Wednesday launched a payment system for publishers of digital content, one day after Apple unveiled a similar system for its App Store.
Google's system, called One Pass, lets publishers establish various options for charging for their content, including subscriptions of different lengths, day passes, discount offers and per-article fees. Transactions are handled by Google Checkout.
One Pass account holders use the same log-in information across participating publishers and devices, including PCs, mobile phones and tablets, according to Google.
"Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content," wrote Lee Shirani, Google Commerce's director of business product management, in a blog post.
Google has long had a love-hate relationship with magazine, newspaper and book publishers, some of which have complained that Google benefits disproportionately from indexing their content and displaying portions of it with ads in services like Google News and Google Books.
The complaints in some cases have ended up as civil copyright lawsuits, and Google has always defended itself saying that its practices of crawling, indexing and displaying portions of content are protected by the fair use principle.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the OnePass program calls for Google to keep a 10% commission on publisher revenue, less than the 30% Apple will charge.
Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
One Pass is now available to publishers in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. German publishers Axel Springer AG, Focus Online and Stern.de are already participating.
The announcement was made in Germany by Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
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