Google readies digital newsstand

We have mentioned that Apple is believed to be looking at a marketplace for digital media in the past, but now it looks like Google is planning a similar thing for the Android platform.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is trying to drum up publishers' support for a new Google-operated digital newsstand, offering Android apps from media companies that feature versions of their publications for smartphones or tablets. But details aren't plentiful right now, with 'media executives who have talked to Google' saying details of the newsstand venture and its timing remain vague, some going as far as saying it might not even happen. But we suspect it will.

Those who have spoken to Google claim the web giant is willing to take a smaller slice on any sales they make of Android apps than the 30% cut Apple typically takes on iTunes sales. Google has also proposed giving publishers certain personal data about app buyers to help with marketing related products or services.

That was believed to have been an issue with Apple in its discussions with traditional publishers, although the WSJ now claims that Apple is planning to share more data about who downloads a publisher's app - Apple would ask consumers who subscribe to an iPad version of a magazine or newspaper for permission to share personal information about them, like their name and email address, with the publisher. It's not the perfect solution for publishers, but it's certainly a concession from Apple.

A concession that could mean Apple is first to market with a newsstand, with the WSJ sources saying it could launch with some publishers 'early this year'. Yes, around the same time as the rumoured iPad 2. Wouldn't that be perfect timing for all concerned? If it does, it just might hurry Google along to do the same thing for the Android platform.

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