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Google Digital Newsstand To Take On Apple’s Newspaper Subscription Service

We have known for quite a while that Apple is working on a newspaper subscription service for the iPad. Now, it looks like Google could soon be launching their own product that could take on competition from Apple in the digital subscription space.

A report on the Wall Street Journal claims that Google is working with publishers to launch a new “digital newsstand” that will be aimed at readers on the Android platform.

According to the report, this subscription service will let publishers market their content through applications built for smartphones or tablets. The digital newsstand is said to ensure a “consistent experience” for consumers besides making it easy for publishers to collect their payments.

Given the old media’s traditional resistance to the digital segment, both Apple and Google are learned to be prepping their service to make them more attractive to publishers. Like Apple, Google too is expected to provide publishers with valuable user details that could help them in their marketing efforts. However, it is not clear if this shall be an opt-in or opt-out feature on the applications. It is worth noting that Apple’s plans to offer publishers with similar information did not find much success since these details were planned to be gathered from users on an opt-in basis.

The WSJ report also claims that Google could be charging a lower cut on sales compared to the 30% cut that Apple charges on its iTunes sales. The move is apparently in a bid to make Android a more attractive platform for publishers compared to iOS. However, with several publications like the Economist, Newsweek and WSJ already offering iPad-focused content, Apple should hold the edge over Google at this point.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how the Apple-Google rivalry helps in making the smartphone/tablet platform more attractive to publishers. Amazon and Barnes & Noble already offer similar services on their eReader platform and Google’s foray should only make this segment more appealing to the publishers and readers. What do you think?

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