What would a rival Google subscription service look like?
Update (September 16): Apple One is now official. The article has been updated with pricing and other details about the subscription service.
Monthly subscriptions are the payment method of choice for a wide range of premium online services, from watching videos on Netflix, streaming music from Spotify, to backing up your documents with Google Drive. But it’s pretty irritating to have 101 different subscriptions, particularly when you’re using multiple services from a single company, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google.
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This is now changing for the better. Apple offers a single payment subscription service called Apple One. It’s essentially one subscription bundling most of the various Apple options into a single monthly payment. Of course, Google has its own range of similar subscriptions and services. This begs the question: could the big G compete with its own all-in-one package? What would it look like and how much might it cost?
What is Apple One?
In case you missed the news, Apple One groups services together while charging a lower monthly cost than if consumers paid for each offering individual. There are three tiers to Apple One, the individual’s package for $14.95 each month, families for $19.95, and Premier for $29.95. While this is cheaper than buying the services individually, the idea is that consumers will end up using more of Apple’s services exclusively. Perhaps paying slightly more to Apple in the long term.
The cheapest option offers Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage. The family package is the same, but allows for six users and comes with 200GB of iCloud storage. The Premier bundle also allows for six users and throws in Apple News Plus, the newly announced Apple Fitness Plus, and 2TB of online storage too.
Apple has a lot of options to bundle, and has done so at an affordable price.
Previously, individual subscriptions to all these services would set you back $45 a month for a family plan. So there are significant savings to be made by switching over to the bundled subscription. Could Google hope to offer anything as competitively priced like Apple’s offering?
What would an all-in-one Google subscription model look like?
So, now to Google.
Although there’s no word on a similar bundle idea from Google, the company has a surprisingly similar range of subscription options to Apple. YouTube is an obvious equivalent for video and music. YouTube Premium bundles together YouTube Music Premium, YouTube Originals content, and an ad-free overall YouTube experience for $11.99, or $17.99 for a family of five. Alternatively, YouTube Music on its own costs $9.99 or $14.99 for the family package.
There’s also the over-the-top YouTube TV service with live channels across TVs, mobile, media players, and more for a whopping $64.99, with extra add-ons costing $5 more and up. Adding the service could make Google’s option a bit more comprehensive, but it would undoubtedly come at a much steeper price than anything Apple would charge.
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Meanwhile, Google One cloud storage prices range from $1.59 to $7.99 a month. That covers email, documents, and photos for a tad cheaper than iCloud.
Instead of Apple Arcade, Google has the $4.99 Google Play Pass for games and apps that are completely free of ads and in-app purchases. The game library isn’t quite as inspiring as Apple Arcade, but it’d make sense to include it in any all-in-one Google bundle.
Google has a far superior gaming option with Stadia though, which isn’t available on Apple devices. The console-rivaling cloud gaming service is priced at $9.99 for the Stadia Pro tier. This delivers a regular rotation of free games and 4K HDR streaming quality that can be played on mobile, Chrome OS devices, PC and Mac, and a TV via a Chromecast Ultra device. While Stadia is still far from perfect, this is potentially a huge selling point that neither Apple nor any of its other rivals could compete with as a media bundle.
Apple One’s low cost puts the squeeze on Google’s pricing
Combined, this entire premium Google package could set you back from anywhere between $35 to $41 for a family plan. If you throw in YouTube TV, this could cost up to $106 a month. The first cost is in roughly the same ballpark as Apple’s individual services, though Google could certainly shave a few dollars off by bundling all this together. Around $30 seems pretty reasonable and it could be a good way to boost those YouTube Music subscriber numbers when Play Music closes for good later this year.
… but, is it enough for a media bundle?
The issue for Google is that it doesn’t offer a TV and movie streaming subscription like Apple TV Plus. Apple TV Plus certainly isn’t the biggest game in town, but TV and music are the big two media options that feel the most suited to a bundled subscription.
Google already has YouTube Premium and YouTube TV, for what that’s worth, but they are not the same sort of product as Netflix, Prime Video, or even Apple TV. Paying per movie or series/episode in Play Movies just feels too much like visiting Blockbuster in 2020. It’s not the way media is consumed anymore.
The lack of a rival movie and TV streaming service would really hurt an all-in-one Google bundle.
If Google cooked up a subscription-based version of Play Movies into Play Pass or something similar, a Google media bundle would look so much more attractive. Especially when thrown in with the huge library of YouTube Music and Stadia gaming from any internet-connected device. But as it stands, movies and TV would be the Achilles heel of any one-stop-shop Google service subscription.
Still, perhaps there’s enough value between the various YouTube tiers, Stadia, Play Pass, and Google One for a single subscription around the $30 mark? It seems like the sort of offer that would go pretty nicely bundled with a new Pixel smartphone or even that recently leaked Android TV device.
What do you think? Cast your vote in the poll below, and let us know in the comments if there are any services you’d like to see Google add to its ever-growing list of subscription offers.