January 3, 2011 | by Michael Heller
Google has obviously seen the number of publishers making apps for the iPad, and they want in on the game. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has begun an initiative, led by Stephanie Tilenius, VP of e-commerce, to bring in publishers in order to create an e-newsstand for Android devices. Google has apparently been in talks with Time Inc, Conde Nast, and Hearst Corp. Sources say Google has even offered publishers a larger portion of app sales than the standard 70%, and access to certain personal data about app purchasers in order to help target marketing.
Google has had troubles with publishers in the past because of Google News, which some have said is stealing readers. But, now Google is trying to reach out to publishers in order to secure deals publications with subscription services very possible. Rumor has it that Apple is readying a subscription service for periodicals, rather than the per issue purchase available now in iTunes. Amazon has added magazines and newspapers to their Kindle offerings, and Barnes & Noble is bringing them to Nook, so Google is trying to play catchup in a sense. Luckily, with Android tablets likely not to gain steam for at least a couple months, Google has time to sweeten the deal for publishers.
I can’t say I’m happy that Google is willing to barter personal information as part of the deal, but I’d expect it’s no more than what they use now to target ads. I would like to see more major publishers bringing apps to Android, especially with tablets on the way.