Report: Google preparing digital newsstand, will battle against Apple

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) today revealed Google is preparing to launch their own application for their Android OS which will allow users to buy digital copies of newspapers and magazines in a bid to compete with the likes of Apple in the fight to bring traditional media into the digital era.

In a piece detailing the fight that will soon erupt between the two digital giants -- Apple with their iOS devices including the iPad and iPhone and Google with their open-source Android software -- the WSJ claims Google's offering will be likely to come in the form of individual apps for Android by publishers, which would then be grouped together to create a "more consistent experience."

"The e-newsstand would include apps from media companies offering versions of their publications for smartphones or tablets running Android," the WSJ reports.

"Google hopes to launch it in part to provide a more consistent experience for consumers who want to read periodicals on Android devices, and to help publishers collect payment for their apps."

Apple on the other hand appears to be gearing up to launch their own support for news and magazine apps on their iOS platform, with rumours suggesting the Cupertino-based technology giant will unveil an update to their mobile operating system within months alongside the debut of The Daily, a News Limited iPad-only publication, which will add native support for subscription payments for developers, making it easier for publishers and users alike to manage subscriptions to media.

Publishers have so far been reluctant to accept an iTunes-like payment system where Apple takes a 30% cut from each sale, and say the lack of subscriber demographics make it difficult to sell advertising and market their publication. If the WSJ report is to be believed however, Apple is looking at allowing publishers to collect data about readers after asking their permission - something which publishers aren't too excited about, suggesting many users won't allow the sharing of their data.

"According to people familiar with the matter, 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," the Wall Street Journal suggests.

Dates for the launch of both initiatives have yet to be revealed, with the WSJ warning Google's push may yet fail to eventuate. Google and Apple were unavailable for comment.

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