As part of its Google News Initiative, Google is making it easier to subscribe to premium content. The new tool, called Subscribe with Google, allows consumers to purchase a subscription using their Google account on participating news sites. If the publisher is part of the program, they’ll click ‘Subscribe’ and can pay securely using any credit or debit card they’ve used on Google in the past.
After the initial sign-up, users can click ‘Sign in with Google’ to get to the publisher’s website. Google says this is simpler because they do the billing, handle the payment processing, and keep your subscriptions in one place. Subscribers will be able to access news subscriptions through their Google account even if they bought their subscriptions directly from the publisher.
Here’s how it works:
To date, the following publishers are part of the program:
- Les Echos
- Fairfax Media
- Le Figaro
- Financial Times
- Gatehouse Media
- Grupo Globo
- The Mainichi
- La Nacion
- The New York Times
- NRC Media
- Le Parisien
- La Repubblica
- USA Today Network
- The Washington Post
‘Paying for a subscription is a clear indication that you value and trust your subscribed publication as a source,’ said Jim Albrecht, project management director for Subscribe with Google in a March 20 blog post. ‘So we’ll also highlight those sources across Google surfaces, beginning with a dedicated module on Search. When you search for a news topic for which your subscribed publication has relevant results, we’ll showcase these so they’re easy for you to see and access – without disrupting search ranking for the rest of the page.’
Since last October, Google has been refining Subscribe with Google by working with participants from close to 60 news organizations in 18 different countries to gather feedback. Google also tested the program with some of the partners to see what types of implementation challenges might come up.
‘Our hope, shared by our early development partners – McClatchy, the Financial Times and The Washington Post – is that the user benefits of Subscribe with Google will them in “creating a simple and frictionless way to welcome new subscribers,”‘ said Albrecht.
‘We’re grateful for the insights and for the adventurous spirit of these early partners, who have helped us start to address what Jon Slade, Chief Commercial Officer of the Financial Times, called the “core issues that are essential to a successful subscription business: easy sign-up, frictionless payment, and improved discovery for subscribers,” Albrecht added.
Google and Facebook have been trying for the last several years to smooth over strained relationships with publishers. Both tech giants have offered new programs to show publishers they want to complement what they do, not replace what they do. Google’s most recent attempt is a program of changes it is calling the Google News Initiative. Through this initiative, Google has pledged $300 million over three years to improve the quality of journalism, help publishers find sustainable business models, and empower news organizations through technology. Subscribe with Google is part of that initiative. Read more about GNI in last week’s Five on Friday column.