The days in which Google did nothing but search are certainly over. Nowadays, it seems like they are constantly getting involved in new e-commerce applications and technologies, and the latest rumors have it that a Google-branded shopping cart or payment system may be closer to launch than expected.
On May 25, the domains googlecheckout.org/info/net were registered by a company connected to a firm which has done corporate identity protection work for Google in the past. Speculation has it that the company was directly acting on behalf of Google, and that the registration of those domains means that a “Google Checkout” service could be imminent.
These speculations have further been fuelled by rumors that Google is conducting closed beta testing on some type of payment system. According to a post by Nathan Weinberg on his Blog News Channel, trusted beta testers have been asked to purchase a wide range of products from respected merchants using a new system.
This may be a sign that PayPal will get serious competition very soon – but, as others have remarked, simply registering a domain doesn’t mean that Google has to actually do anything with it.