Google Apps phonto.
Google's One Pass is giving Apple a run for its money. CC by gleonhard/Flickr

Google one-upped Apple Wednesday by announcing its One Pass content subscription service. Barely 24 hours had passed from Apple’s announcement of its subscription service when Google broke out One Pass. One Pass will cost content providers less, but customers have greater privacy doing business with Apple subscriptions.

One Pass by Google

Google’s One Pass lets consumers subscribe to digital content such as magazines, newspapers, video and music offered by media companies through mobile apps. Google lets publishers set the price of subscriptions, like Apple, and doesn’t care if consumers can find a better price on the publishers own website — unlike Apple. Publishers will also welcome Google’s offer to market and process subscription transactions for just 10 percent of the sale. Google is offering One Pass to publishers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Taking on the Apple App Store

A scant 24 hours before Google unveiled One Pass, Apple announced  a content subscription service for media companies through its App Store. Publishers reacted negatively to Apple’s offer of processing the transaction for a 30 percent commission. Publishers were also put out by Apple’s insistence that subscription offers must be made within the app and that consumers couldn’t get a better deal by going to the publisher’s own website. To publishers, which operate at razor thin profit margins when they’re not losing money, Apple’s subscription terms went over like a lead balloon. The perception was that Apple was unfairly leveraging the clout with potential subscribers it has obtained through the iPhone and iPad. One Pass, with its smaller commission and looser terms, was well received by publishers in comparison.

Rivals separated by customer privacy issues

Publishers will likely participate in both the Apple App Store and Google One Pass subscription services. It may become evident that having a direct pipeline to iPhone and iPad users is more important than avoiding a 30 percent commission. As sales for the iPhone and iPad continue to grow rapidly, Apple will be able to call the shots. For consumers on other platforms such as Android, choosing between the two may come down to privacy issues. Apple won’t share customer information with publishers unless the customer takes steps to allow it. Google gives publishers customer contact information by default, unless the customer makes sure to forbid it. Google has designed One Pass with the publisher in mind. Apple’s subscription service is focused on satisfied customers.

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PC Magazine:,2817,2380430,00.asp

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