Following entries into the newsletter market from tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, Google is now experimenting with newsletters, too. The company’s internal R&D division, Area 120, has a new project called Museletter. It allows anyone to publish a Google Drive file as a blog or newsletter to their Museletter public profile or an email list.
The effort would essentially repurpose Google’s existing document-creation tools as a means of competing with other newsletter platforms, like Substack, Ghost, Revue, and others, which are today attracting a growing audience.
Google’s experiment was spotted this week by sites including 9to5Google and Android Police. Reached for comment, an Area 120 spokesperson declined to share further details about Museletter, saying only that it was “one of the many experiments” within the R&D group and that “it’s still very early.”
From the Museletter website, however, there is already much that can be learned about the project. The site explains how creators could monetize Google Drive in a way that would allow Google’s newsletter project to differentiate itself from the competition. Not only could newsletters be written in a Google Doc, but other productivity apps could also be used to share information with readers. For example, a newsletter creator could offer a paid subscription plan to allow readers to access their Google Slides. A creator who writes about finance could publish helpful spreadsheets to Google Sheets, available to their subscribers.
To make this possible, Museletter publishers would create a public profile on their Google Drive and then publish any Google Drive file directly. This provides them with a landing page to market their subscriptions and showcase how many different Drive files they’ve made publicly available across Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Creators can also optionally publish to an email list — including a list brought in from other platforms. The newsletter subscriptions can be free or paid, depending on the creator’s preferences, but using Museletter itself will be free. Instead, the project aims to monetize with premium features like custom domains, welcome emails, and more.
The platform also promises tools and analytics to engage audiences and track the newsletter’s performance. While the site doesn’t mention any plans for advertising, success in this space could provide Google with a new ad revenue stream — and one that arrives at a time when the tech giant’s multibillion-dollar advertising market has a new challenger in the form of Amazon, whose own ad business could eventually challenge the Facebook-Google duopoly. Google didn’t say when it plans to launch Museletter, but the website offers a link to a form where users can request early access.