According to this article published yesterday in The New York Times, Google plans to launch a micro-payment system over the next year and hopes that newspapers will use it now that they are looking for new ways to charge their users for content.
The news was revealed in a document that Google sent to the Newspaper Association of America in response to a request for proposals for paid content that the association sent to various technology companies.
The Google document, first released by the Nieman Journalism Lab, indicates that the micropayment system will be an extension of Google Checkout, a payment system that Google launched in 2006 and which has positioned itself as a competitor to the PayPal service. eBay, current leader in online payment systems.
According to Google, although they are currently in their early planning stages, micropayments will be an available means of payment both within Google and outside of it throughout the next year. "The idea is to allow viable payments from 1 penny to several dollars by adding purchases over time and stores."
Ten other companies responded to the association's request, including Microsoft, I.B.M. and Oracle. But Google's plans are especially interesting given the delicate relationship between the newspaper industry and the company.
In the document, Google noted that newspapers could also use Checkout to charge for subscriptions, but described the subscription management system as "quite rudimentary."
Newspapers have been struggling with a major financial crisis in the sector that has devastated many newspapers. The industry is trying to find new ways to earn income and some publications are looking at ways to charge for their content.
Randy Bennett, senior vice president of business development for the industry association, said the request for proposals came after a meeting of its members in May. According to him, it is now up to each individual newspaper to decide whether to establish a relationship with any of the companies that submitted the proposals.
Google, which has long relied on advertising for the vast majority of its revenue, said it believed that paid content could be a good complement to advertising.
“Although we believe that advertising is likely to continue to be the main source of income for most news content, a paid model can act as a significant source of additional income. Additionally, a successful paid content model can enhance advertising opportunities, rather than replace them, ”the company wrote.
If Google's proposal goes through, it could put the company in a position to compete with Journalism Online, a company backed by Steven Brill and L. Gordon Crovitz, which has recently claimed to have signed with more than 500 newspapers to offer its services, which they include “hybrid models of paid content”. Journalism Online is another of the companies that submitted a proposal to the association.