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Google Launches Wallet For Web Content

Google has started an experiment called ‘Google Wallet for web content‘ to allow publishers and content creators sell individual web content pages to their visitors. The company notes that the service is currently only an experiment to check if users will buy individual web pages if the buying process is made simpler.

How does it work? Through this initiative, content creators can initially provide an article excerpt or a free sample of the content and embed a Google Wallet widget in the article to allow users buy the article in a single click. Google noted that it will however rank the content based only on the free content offered to the users.

What’s interesting is that the service offers a 30-minute refund period, within which users can get an instant refund if they feel that the article wasn’t worth the money. That being said, the company however notes that it monitors refund claims from users to ensure that they are refunding money for only content the user didn’t like and the service is not being abused to get free content.

Partners: Google has partnered with Peachpit, Oxford University Press and Dorling Kindersley (DK) for this initiative. According to a leaked Google Commerce blog post first spotted by 9to5Google, DK will be selling three chapters – Knitting, Essential Managers, and Mammals initially with more chapters added in the due course, while Peachpit will be selling chapters from the books in its Visual Quickstart Guide series, which includes books on Photoshop Elements, HTML5, and Microsoft Office.

Similarly, Oxford University press will be offering 80,000 articles on topics ranging from Globalization to Ethics in the Middle Ages, from its Oxford reference content for purchase. The blog post also indicates that the popular technology blog GigaOM and investment site The Motley Fool will also be shortly offering articles for purchase through this service.

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That being said, it is not clear if the service is available for publishers outside the United States. While the publisher enquiry form doesn’t indicate any geographical limitations, the blog post indicates that the service is available only for US-based publishers.

Pricing: Google stated that this service is ideal for publishers who intend to sell premium digital content, and the blog post indicates that publishers can price these web pages anywhere from 25 cents (Rs 12.88) to 99 cents (Rs 51). However, if any publisher doesn’t want to offer the instant refund feature or wants to price the content above $1, Google suggests them to use its digital games service to offer their content.

Unlimited access after purchase: Google stated that it will be offering users unlimited access to the content, once they buy the content and claims to even provide an archive service, in case the website pulls down the content or the website is shut down.

Our Take: We tried the service and we were able to purchase an article from Oxford Reference. However its worth noting that Google Wallet currently supports only Credit Cards and Debit cards at the time of writing this article. We also noticed that the refund was quite instant as promised.

Hoping that the service is available to publishers globally, it will be interesting to see if Indian publishers make use of this service to offer rich long form content to their readers. It will also be interesting to see if this service will be integrated to Google’s social news reader app Google Currents, to allow users access long form content on the app.

Its competitor, Flipboard had recently inked a content deal with The New York Times, to offer a paywall option to its users, through which users could get full access to the content from The New York Times on the app.

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