Google Gets in the Subscription Game with One Pass

Google introduced its own online subscription service dubbed One Pass on Wednesday, just a day after Apple opened up its subscription feature to iOS app developers. For now, it appears that One Pass may offer publishers more flexibility than Apple’s subscription service.

Consumers will be able to take advantage of One Pass subscriptions with their existing Google login, and publishers will be able to offer traditional subscriptions, along with one-off articles, metered content access, and “freemium” content. The content users access via One Pass will be available to them in on Web sites, tablet devices and smartphones that support the feature without requiring re-subscription.

Google wants in on the online subscription game

“Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content,” said Google Commerce business product manager Lee Sharani.

According to Google, publishers can take advantage of One Pass’s flexibility to find the best sale strategy.

In comparison, Apple’s subscription service for iOS devices requires in-app sign up support if there’s a Web site where users can also sign up, publishers can’t include external link to their subscription sites in their app, and they must offer as good as or better offers in-app as they don on their Web sites.

Apple takes a 30 percent cut off the top of in-app purchases and subscriptions. Google didn’t say, however, how much of a cut it plans on taking from One Pass purchases.

Publishers in the U.S., Canada, U.K. France, Germany, Spain and Italy can start taking advantage of One Pass now, and several companies such as Axel Springer AG, Focus Online, Stern.de, Popular Science, Media General, NouvelObs, Prisa and Rust Communications are already on board.