Shutting down] Area 120’s ‘Museletter’ turns your Google Docs into paid newsletters

In the media landscape, newsletters are currently very popular among journalists and other writers that want a direct audience, as well as business. Most are using Substack, with Google’s Area 120 experimenting on a very interesting tool called Museletter that leverages Docs/Drive for distribution.

Update 12/14: Exactly three months after we first reported about Museletter, Area 120 is shutting it down. In an email to users today (via JR Raphael), Google says it has learned “a lot” from the Docs newsletter service. That said:

Unfortunately, this experiment is coming to an end. Museletter will be shutting down on December 20, 2021, when we’ll be disabling the website and deleting the limited data we have (like this email list).

There’s no action needed on your end. We did not activate our public facing content creation tools, so there’s no user data to export.

The team says it “still believe[s] in the promise of new content distribution and monetization,” and that Museletter will “inform future Google efforts in this space and others.”

There’s no mention of a similar functionality coming to an existing service, However, if we were to read the tea leaves, such a capability could be ripe for inclusion in an offering like Google Workspace Individual.

Just open Museletter, choose a Drive file, and publish. It’s that easy.

Writers will have the option to make any Doc, Sheet, or Slide available for free or paid, e.g. $5 per month.

You control how you share your work. With private sharing, you can directly email your content or grant exclusive access to subscribers.

Museletter offers community features and engagement analytics to “grow your audience.” You can request early access to the tool now, and it will be available “within the coming months.” The base product is free, but Google will be offering “premium” features, like custom domains and welcome emails.

People often compile elaborate spreadsheets and share via Google Sheets. This offers a free repository of your work, as well as an easy way to monetize. Example use cases/users touted by Google include: 

  • Jenna is a marketing specialist. She creates and shares Google Slides that explain different marketing techniques. To monetize her Slides, she offers a paid subscription plan to her content.
  • Jojo is a world traveler. After her recent trip, she drops her photos, along with narration, in a Google Doc. She publishes the doc, as a blog, to her email list.
  • Tyson is a financial advisor. He creates Google Sheets, which show how to save for retirement. He publishes the content to his public profile.

Google’s Area 120 structure sees popular products integrated into existing services. Unpopular projects are often deprecated entirely. Elsewhere at the company, Google Workspace’s new Individual tier will soon offer “professional” email templates that can be customized with brand colors, images, and logos. It’s meant for both promotional messages and newsletters.

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