Google prepares a mobile marketplace for news content

Android Police | The Next Web | Read Write
A newspaper section is coming to the Google Play store for Android-powered mobile devices, according to a report by Android Police. Google Play News would join the store’s existing marketplaces for apps, magazines, books, movies and music.

The scoop is based on Android Police noticing some hints in the JavaScript code that runs the Play store, with various messages for users to purchase “issues” or “subscriptions” of news “editions.”

It could become an important market for news publishers, as Android-powered tablets surpass iPads in market share. Publishers have been able to sell subscriptions within their Android apps for nearly a year now, but having a special storefront for news in the Play store could help drive readers that way.

But this news app market will face some significant hurdles.

For one, iPad and iPhone users have been much more willing to spend money on content than the relatively frugal Android users.

For another, the little we know so far suggests Google Play News will be set up to sell bundles of news in discrete periodic editions — basically a digitized newspaper. But the Web and social media have unbundled news consumption and it’s not clear why any reader would want to pay money to return to media organized around daily “issues.”

Hopefully when this product surfaces it will focus less on recreating a virtual newsstand for periodicals and more on creating a marketplace for customized, premium mobile news experiences.

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