The Checkout Counter: Google Does the Universal Wallet

Google Launches Payment Service, Competing with PayPal – Washington Post

The Post has got it wrong. Google’s new Checkout does not compete with PayPal. PayPal is primarily about individuals being able to be pay other individuals with credit card and not check or cash. Google’s Checkout is really more about trying to be the internet shopping universal wallet (e.g., use one user/pass for every web purchase instead of entering in contact info at each site separately). This, as has been pointed out a million times over on the web, has been attempted by Microsoft (the “passport”) and Yahoo. Google faces the same issue other companies faced at trying to get this program started: getting online merchants to use it over their own proprietary site. The advantage Google has is that many merchants’ sites are already intimately linked with Google’s AdWords online advertising.

I think if Google can’t make it work, no one can. It will have to do some arm twisting with merchants at first but eventually this will be a great system that could benefit everyone. The real question is whether Google plans on using the information about what is being purchased in each transaction to help hone their targeted advertising. It would be the enlarged system that Amazon already uses to “recommend” products after purchasing something else on Amazon. As this article points out, Amazon is the one that should be afraid if Checkout takes off…