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Google Checkout Open For Business

Following much speculation surrounding Google's planned launch of a payment system to rival PayPal, the search-engine giant today announced that its Google Checkout is open for business.

Previously dubbed GBuy by the media and blogging community, Google Checkout is designed to offer Google users an easy way to complete credit card transactions at any participating online store with a single Google login.

Similar in nature to MSN Passport (one login to access multiple Web sites and services), Google Checkout allows shoppers to use a single Google account to quickly make purchases at participating online stores. By using the Google Checkout system, users can also track orders and shipping status from multiple online stores in one place.

Based on what's available in the launch version, Google certainly doesn't appear to be looking to cut into PayPal's transaction market share, as this serves to provide another gateway for Google users to make credit card purchases online. That is, it doesn't offer any replacement to using a credit card to complete an online transaction.

ChannelAdvisor, a provider of channel-management products, announced it is currently offering full support for Google Checkout. Scot Wingo, the company's CEO, said that merchants using ChannelAdvisor can now, with one click, turn on Google Checkout through their ChannelAdvisor account.

"Merchants need to apply for a Google Checkout account first. From there the ChannelAdvisor is a streamlined process with Google Checkout. Our clients can click to turn on the Google Checkout from ChannelAdvisor and their e-commerce Web site will be Google Checkout enabled."

Grapevinehill is a ChannelAdvisor client that has been anticipating Google Checkout. The online retailer that specializes in discount brand-name shoes has already implemented Google Checkout on its e-commerce site today. Throughout the day, more merchants are expected to have he Google Checkout integrated into their Web site.

"Long term this will have serious ramifications for merchants, due to Google Checkout's economic benefits," said Wingo. "Google Checkout adds a green shopping cart by AdWords, which makes AdWords more efficient. Also, as an added incentive, for every AdWord dollar you spend you will receive 10 times that amount in free processing credits."

For merchants that obtain a Google Checkout account, a $1,000 AdWords campaign, for example, can provide them with $10,000 of free processing credits. In addition to the AdWords bonus, merchants are also offering another, simple way for customers to check-out on their Web site, plus they are able to take advantage of processing fees that are considered to be below that of the industry standard. The New York Times earlier today reported that Google is charging merchants 20 cents plus 2 percent of the purchase price to process a card transaction, which is less than most businesses pay for credit card processing.

On the customer's side, they get a simple way to organize their online purchases — right from the individual online store's check-out page to a consumer purchase manager that stores their credit card information, shipping and billing details. For frequent online shoppers, Google Checkout offers a one-click step to quickly and efficiently manage all your online shopping through participating merchants.

To help build consumers' confidence, Google is offering a fraud-protection policy that will cover shoppers against unauthorized purchases made through Google Checkout. Additionally, Google promises that it will not share purchase history or full credit card numbers with merchants. Through their own Google Checkout account, shoppers can also choose to keep e-mail addresses confidential, and turn off unwanted e-mails from stores where they use Google Checkout. The biggest hurdle will be for consumers, will be in deciding if they can put their trust and give yet more personal information to a company with its roots deeply embedded in data collection.

Currently, Google Checkout is only available in the United States.

Vangie Beal is a contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com, where this article first appeared.