Google ‘Newspass’ to save the newspaper industry?

Jun 19, 2010

According to a report from Italy, Google plans to release a micro-payment system that will link to paid newspaper content directly from search results.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica is reporting that Google has been contacting Italian newspapers (wonder how they found out?!) about a new service called 'Newspass' which will be released later this year.  Newspass will provide news organizations with micro-payments for direct links to their properties from Google News.  The move is likely in response to an Italian publishers organization/antitrust authority who is reviewing Google's relationship with the newspaper industry.  However, the move could have implications on the global newspaper industry.

Here's how the system would work: When users do a Google News search, they will receive both paid and unpaid results.  If users choose to click on the paid results (which will denote the cost), they will be charged a fee through Google Checkout.  If they refuse payment (or don't have/want to have Google checkout) they won't be able to see the content.

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Google will share the analytics information with the site owners so that they know how successful (or unsuccessful) the program is.

According to the paper, the service is set to roll out later this year and may find its way into other markets.  In future iterations, Newspass  will adapt to any payment method chosen by the owners of the sites including micro-payments or various subscription models.

Henrique de Castro, a Google vice president, said in a translated statement, "Google wants to be partners, not competitors, with the Newspaper industry."

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