With all of the recent pay walls springing up, it’s no wonder that it has come to this. In fact, Google had talked about building a paid content system as far back as nearly a year ago. According to a story on the Paid Content website, that system might be coming to Italy quite soon.
No confirmation from Google on this story yet. As is common, Google tends to be very tight lipped about upcoming products. However, an article in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica says that the Mountain View, California company has been reaching out to local publishers to test the water, so to speak.
Is this the future of premium content on the Internet? Though some publishers believe so (just look at the catastrophe surrounding The Wall Street Journal), the commonly held belief is that any paid content system is going to take a lot of work before it would be accepted on a global scale.
One possibility with this is a system called Newspass (a translation from the Italian paper, so this name might not be accurate). Not unlike any other subscription service, Newspass would allow its holders access to content across any site that used the service.
It’s no coincidence, mind you, that this service would spring up in Italy. The country has been a hotbed of confrontation with Google, so this appears to be the first steps toward a resolution.
According to Google, and from the Paid Content article:
“We’ve consistently said we are talking with news publishers to figure out ways we can work together, including whether we can help them with technology to power any subscription services they may be thinking of building. Our aim, as with all Google products, would be to reach as broad a global audience as possible.
We don’t pre-announce products and don’t have anything to announce at this time.”