Google Rolling Out Micropayments for Web Content

This could be the Dust Bowl for poor-quality content farms.

googlewallet Google Rolling Out Micropayments for Web Content

Google Wallet for Business (Screengrab)

Oh, yay, Google is set to implement a micropayment system for online content. CNET reports the search giant has confirmed that users will be able to purchase articles for prices between $0.25 and $0.99 apiece.

Google isn’t trying subvert free content, it says the project is experimental and intended to promote creation of “high-quality content” online.

As CNET notes, micropayment systems have never fared well:

Theories for why micropayments have failed to date run the gamut. In the past, they have required users to install new software, hand over sensitive credit card information, navigate complicated interfaces, and make uncomfortable bets on whether a given article will be worth the dollar they have been asked to pay for it. There’s also the fact that in a world where the vast majority of content is free, getting users to pay is difficult.

Google’s page on using Wallet already lists “top content creators” that accept Google Wallet payments–they include Oxford University Press and Pearson-owned Peachpit Press, which publishes technology books and ebooks. CNET reports GigaOm and Motley Fool will sell some content using Google Wallet as well.

While monetized pages filled with cute cat videos are probably inevitable with a service like this, Google will make the new service more palatable for consumers by offering immediate refunds if users aren’t satisfied.