Google looks to counter Apple with Android newsstand

Google is aiming to keep on an even keel with Apple by looking for industry support for a planned newsstand for Android devices. The plans seem similar to what Apple already offers publishers to offer online subscriptions to their content through the App Store.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is currently in discussions with several content providers including Time Warner, Conde Nast, and Hearst Publications. Details are slim, but it appears the Mountain View, Calif. company is ready to do what's needed to bring content providers on board.

For example, Google is apparently offering publishers personal data of its users in an effort to help with marketing. In addition, it is also prepared to take a smaller cut of revenues than the 30 percent Apple takes for inclusion in the App Store.

It is not immediately clear what the timetable would be, or whether the initiative would come to fruition at all, the WSJ says. E-Commerce chief Stephanie Tilenius is said to be heading up the effort.

Apple and Google are not the only companies looking into cashing in on the digital magazine trend. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer magazine and newspaper subscriptions via its respective Kindle and Nook e-book readers.

Also, rumored is a partnership between News Corp and Apple, which are said to be working on a iPad-only newspaper.

None of the companies would comment directly on the report. Apple declined to comment.

In an effort to keep publishers happy, Apple is making changes to the way it handles online magazines. For example, it will make selling subscriptions easier -- a common request of content providers.

It also would share more information on who is downloading the company's app for marketing purposes, although it would ask the customer for permission to share this information first. The WSJ said this was causing some consternation among its partners, saying most would choose to opt out.

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