Word of a "deep web" initiative that will make some premium content accessible on Google is beginning to leak out.
According to the Beta News story: Google Indexing Subscription Content, Google is currently testing a service that will allows publishers with restricted (aka fee-based or subscription) content to have their material crawled and indexed. Searchers will then be able to view free previews on Google results pages.
Premium content will be indexed and tagged as paid, and will be displayed in a special content area on the right side of Google's search results underneath the AdSense advertising links.
Some paid articles are "first click free" and will appear within Google's "natural" aggregated search results - if the participating publication decides that the content should be accessible when Google is the referrer.
As Danny points out in the BetaNews article, Google already has "limited agreements" with content providers to make some of their "deep web" material accessible. The fact that Google is testing a premium service is no surprise. Let's also not forget that Yahoo recently launched their Yahoo Subscriptions service that provides access to premium content.
Use Your Google Wallet
I don't think it's a stretch to think that Google Wallet will eventually be used to pay for premium content. For example, a searcher finds a "premium" article and then is able to use their their Google Wallet account to pay for immediate access to the full text.
Online info providers like LexisNexis, Dialog, and Factiva offer services where you can search some of their databases for free and then pay for individual articles or files with a credit card. These "pay as you go services" have been available for several years.
Get Some Premium Material for Free
The same day that Yahoo Subscriptions was launched, database publisher Thomson Gale announced the release of a service called called AccessMyLibrary.com that will make some premium content discovered via both Yahoo and Google available for free via your local library.
If you're interested in accessing numerous specialty databases full of premium content, check out my story about the resources that many public libraries make available for free via the web. All you'll need is a library card.
Want to discuss? Visit our forum thread, Google's First Click Free.