Google appears to be preparing to launch a newspaper feature called Google Play News, to complement the apps, music, books, magazines, and movies it already offers in its Android store. As first spotted by Android Police, news content will come in “Issues” and “Subscriptions,” suggesting the feature will be similar to Apple’s Newsstand service.

The new revelation was discovered in a JavaScript file hosted on the Web version of Google Play. The text “Google Play News” is only mentioned once, but these text strings show it wasn’t included by accident:

  • To read Google Play News, you must have a supported Android phone or tablet.
  • Please sign in to get this News edition.
  • Please sign in to purchase this News Issue.
  • Please sign in to purchase this News Edition Subscription.
  • Subscribing you to this news edition…
  • You have subscribed to this news edition. It is now available on your device.

Most of the text in the JavaScript file is almost identical to the Magazine section of Google Play, suggesting the two will be closely related (and will likely use similar if not the same code). Google Play News is clearly still not yet ready for prime time, however, given that Google seems to regularly swap between using terms like “News Issue” or “News Edition” to refer to a single issue and can’t decide if it should be using “News” or “news” to refer to the broader content.

Android Police also notes the News section will likely be yellow:

nexusae0 Swatches1 Google may be readying an Apple Newsstand like feature called Google Play News, with issues and subscriptions

Apple has seen great success with its Newsstand app so far. Less than two months ago, we noted how Hearst decided to ship magazines on Apple’s platform before anywhere else.

The state of affairs on Android is meanwhile bleak. TNW, for example, recently decided to stop producing TNW Magazine for Google’s platform.

It makes sense for Google to enter the newspaper business with Android. Reading the news on mobile devices is a very popular activity as digital continues to replace print, and the company would be daft not to want a piece of that pie.

Google may be killing off Google Reader on July 1st and pushing onwards with Google+, but that simply means the company is done with RSS. The company is still very much supporting the news industry; Google News and other similar services aren’t going away, while new ones are bound to show up too as the media world continues to evolve with the Web.

Top image credit: Brano Hudak