Premium web content, over the past couple of years, has been the newest, oddest trend in news and reporting; and now Google is attempting to capitalize.
Google Wallet, launched late 2011, is a mobile and web app that allows users to securely store their credit, debit, and gift card information for easy use in retail stores as well as online. Like Google+, the trend never really caught on as hoped, so now it has been revamped as a one-click medium to purchase premium web content, which primarily includes online news articles, journal articles, and magazine articles.
So far Google has labeled their newest campaign as an “experiment” to test its users’ willingness to pay for high-end web pages and articles. Don’t be fooled.
Universal access to fair and honest news is narrowed heavily by Google Wallet and alike premium web content because of who it limits to gaining the information–after all, it is ‘premium’ information. Even the title implies an “in-the-know” and “out-of-the-know” mentality toward news: if the user is socioeconomically hindered, or simply chooses not to use a credit card, the individual cannot read news articles others can. Do people need such a harsh divide in news accessibility for the sake of less advertisements and a ‘cleaner’ web experience? Does the traditional economic model for the Internet need to be flipped upside down by Google (again)?
Probably not, and those questions are somewhat irrelevant. The only people really using the service for access to premium web content are desperate graduate school students struggling with sources for their thesis. But the notion remains unsettling.