Google is in preliminary discussions with publishers to sign up to a new paid content platform intended to launch by the end of the year, according to reports.
The platform, which PaidContent and Italian newspaper La Republica reports as being called Newspass, will let users access multiple sites via a single login, with payment options including both subscriptions and micropayments.
Google has repeatedly said it wants to work with publishers to help them earn more money from online content, and to ease criticism that Google's search engine and Google News dilutes news content.
Last year it sent a document to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) in response to a request for paid-content proposals. The document stated the system would be available to third-party publishers, but that only certain types of news content would coax consumers into paying to access it (nma.co.uk 10 Sept 2009).
Any service by Google could rival online payment platform Journalism Online, which last summer announced it had signed up more than 500 magazines and newspapers worldwide (nma 14 August 2009).
In March Microsoft search director Stefan Weitz told new media age the company is working to help newspapers monetise their content through search engines. He said one of the priorities of its London-based Search Technology Centre would be to develop ways for publishers to share content via search without losing money (nma 4 March 2010).
Earlier this week News Corp closed Times Online as it moved closer to the launch of its paid content model.
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