Industry watchers envisioned the long-anticipated payment system to a direct challenge to eBay's PayPal payment service, but, at launch, Google Checkout looks more like Amazon's "1-Click" ordering option.
Tied to AdWords
Synched with Google's AdWords search advertising program, some analysts see the move as part of a larger effort by Google to boost search-advertising revenue.
"While frequently described as an 'eBay killer,' I believe that it's actually positioned to solve a perplexing and core problem at Google -- how to drive more search ad revenues, especially in the retail sector where search spending is plateauing for top keywords," Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li wrote on her blog.
The Google Checkout icon on AdWords advertisements makes it easier for shoppers to find Google Checkout stores when they search. Once shoppers buy with Google Checkout, AdWords advertisers can also process all or a portion of their sales for free. For every $1 merchants spend on AdWords, they can process $10 in sales through Google Checkout at no charge.
Login completes the purchase
If shoppers want to use Google Checkout, they can create a login from a merchant's site with a single user name and password by entering basic information such as their contact details, payment preferences and shipping information. Then, when checking out at any online retailer that offers Google Checkout, they can select it and complete transactions with only their login information. In addition, shoppers can keep track of their purchase history, including orders and shipping details, in one place.
Google Checkout enables purchases using existing payment methods, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Citibank is presently offering its credit card customers a limited-time promotion for signing up and purchasing with Google Checkout using its Citi card.