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Sunday, July 2, 2006

Google Checkout – Good or Bad for Smaller Online Businesses?

Posted by @ 5:47 am

New: Google CheckoutAfter many rumors, Google has finally launched its long expected payment system. The payment system, called “Google Checkout“, heavily builds on Google’s brand recognition and Internet dominance. This could make it a serious competitor to PayPal, even if Google Checkout’s features cannot yet compete with eBay’s payment system.

How Does Google Checkout Work?

  • Users provide Google with their credit card information, which is stored by Google.
  • Users then can purchase goods and services at participating merchants without sharing their credit card information with the merchant. This is similar to how PayPal works, but in contrast to PayPal, users can’t maintain an account balance with Google Checkout for future transactions.

What’s In It For Buyers?

  • Another payment option that allows buyers purchase good and services on the web without sharing credit card details with merchants – only Google knows the credit card details.
  • Currently, Google Checkout is accepted at about 100 merchants. That’s not many, but the program was only launched late last week.

What’s In It For Sellers?

  • Significantly cheaper transaction fees than those charged by PayPal. Google Checkout charges of US$0.20 and 2% per transaction.
  • Discounts for merchants who are also Google AdWords advertisers – for every one dollar of AdWords spend, merchants can process $10 worth of sales for free with Google Checkout.
  • A potential competitive advantage in regards to AdWords advertisers who don’t offer the Google Checkout payment option. A little Google Checkout shopping cart icon will be displayed next to the URL of participating AdWords advertisers. If Google Checkout becomes popular, non-participating merchants could experience lower click-through and conversion rates, also impacting their AdWords position.
  • Another payment alternative to credit cards, alleviating credit card security fears of shoppers.
  • Google Checkout is currently only available in the United States.

What’ In It For Google?

  • Knowledge! Having users trustingly share credit card information with a company is certainly a sign of Google’s reputation and trustworthiness.
  • Even more commercially important, Google will be able to obtain behavioural data regarding merchants’ e-commerce sites. Not only will Google get insight into merchants’ revenues, Google will also be able to obtain conversion information and data on average order values, which the company could then use to increase AdWords costs for advertisers to the upper limits just acceptable for merchants.

One of the things that struck me was how much all of Google’s product information was targeted at merchants, extolling the benefits from a merchant point of view. It is much less clear why users are supposed to flock to Google Checkout.

For smaller online retailers, Google Checkout could be a very attractive payment system – if they are willing to share quite sensitive business data with a third party like Google.

It will be interesting to see if the question of user benefits is going to be addressed by Google over the coming weeks, and it will be interesting to see whether fears about data sharing with Google outweigh potential benefits of Google Checkout from a merchants’ point of view.

Need to get into Google within 7 days? Get in with G-Boost or get a full refund!

Discussion (11 - comments)

It’s pretty obvious why it’s beneficial for users. Instead of having to sign-up to every website out there, you sign-up to a single trusted party (google) once and then don’t have to worry about entering your details over and over again. It also affords you some level of security that the transaction goes through a trusted third party. If froogle had the ability to unify payments over all its merchants a few years ago, it wouldn’t have been such a miserable failure. That’s why ebay really took off – there was a unified payments mechanism (PayPal)

By Victor - July 2, 2006

Hi Victor,

I agree with your comments – but isn’t that what PayPal already offers to its users? Do you think Google Checkout will be compelling enough for users if you compare it to PayPal?

By Nancy Hackett - July 2, 2006

Where to start.
Well I have to congratuale them on the buzz, for sure anyone who is a payment watcher was looking out for GBuy, which ofcourse turned out to be Checkout, not sure I like the name, it is confusing.

I think small merchants will use it, what do they have to lose, usually they dont count integration cost as a barrier, so why not spend a few hours and ride Googles PR, and hey if you can get a better deal on AdWords then all the better. From a consumer point of view, I dont know, PayPal is in this market, so was Yahoo and other eWallet options. Does the world need another credit payment option? I am not sure they do.

Google can still milk it good name, I mean does Google do any Evil? So customers are likley to use it again just becasue its Google, so Google has unfortunaltley invented nothing new they are just moving into eBays space, which in a way is very disappointing given that Google gotten us used to inovative solutions, Alas not Checkout…

By Anonymous - July 3, 2006

Perhaps this means a downturn for Google. In my opinion though Googles #1 claim to fame was(is) their search engine. I have used Paypal for years. I will NOT switch! Google is about it’s search engine as Paypal is about your money and your online security. Stay with Paypal. They are the best service for payments and processing on the net.

By Anonymous - July 4, 2006

i think they will have a hard time getting merchants who want to add another merchant provider.

By The Loquacious Booty - July 4, 2006

hmmm….not sure what to think. On one hand I love PayPal and will continue to use it. On the other hand anything that Google has released seems to be worth it and who knows at this rate we may only need to use Google for everything online (oh wait is that legal:) it is the internet)

By Anonymous - July 5, 2006

paypal had major bugs when they were first around. After the acquisition, the quality improved. Google’s development staff is talented but egotistical, but still their quality is good. I’m tired of the mock products that Google is coming out with. I want something innovating from them instead of another reinvention of the wheel.

By Anonymous - July 7, 2006

There are still some countries wherein Paypal is not available namely the Philippines. Google Checkout would have a good chance of success if it they are to become available in these countries not covered by Paypal.

By Anonymous - July 10, 2006

We used to use paypal and no longer accept it. See all you die hard paypal lovers. Paypal is NOT a bank. They are NOT governed by federal banking laws and they have had HUNDREDS of lawsuits against them for their deceitful services. So go ahead continue to use paypal and one day they will stick it to you like they have done to millions of other people and then you can ask why.
As for google. Us and our company are going to take a wait and see approach. We have a secure server we have a customer base, we have the reputation. We will watch this payment option, and go from there

By Anonymous - July 17, 2006

Well Paypal has done excellent job, But we have to think as a point of user. Healthy competetion always give users better choices. I have seen that websites started putting Google Checkout buttons with Paypal.
Similarly in our Ecommerce solution GoldbarOne People demanded to integrate. It is slightly complex in way of integration but very good to use. For all of you please have test drive of Google check out at
Get an example credit card and signup to
there you will get inside look of Google checkout.
and If you are looking for complete solution to integrate then let us do this at


By Vidi - August 3, 2006

i think it,s a great post.

By 1websitedesign - February 6, 2008

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