Why Use Google Checkout?

I just recently made a purchase using Google Checkout. As a disclosure this was my first and only one so far. I base my observations on that purchase and that purchase alone. I did it with, and got $20 off my purchase. After all, how can you pass that up? I also qualified for free shipping. The process was extremely simple and strait forward as Google services typically are. However I did notice a few minor quirks:

  • Confirmation emails from both Google and, which is really unnecessary and should be avoidable.
  • Two different order numbers is confusing when you check your status. Go to and you now have to select which order type:, Google Checkout, or PayPal to view the status. That’s an extra step that really shouldn’t happen. You can also check the status from within Google Checkout, but no tracking number.

The real advantage to Google Checkout was the discount ($20 off my purchase with no questions, rebates, coupon codes). Other than that, it’s just a way to keep all your online purchases in 1 easy to read place. I wonder how many really need such functionality? I almost never have more than 2 or 3 things (and even that is very rare) on order. Even in those cases I get emails when they ship, and can check the status easily. I never feel that it’s disorganized or I could loose track of things. Even when everything is from different places.

So what’s the incentive to use Google Checkout? There are some for merchants, but really no clear advantage for consumers when purchasing with larger retailers. The only real place where it would be helpful is with smaller sites where you may not want to give the merchant your credit card and feel better with Google mediating. Ebay would be another place, though not allowed. Most mainstream merchants will likely still process payments themselves, I don’t see the’s,’s,’s, etc. using Google Checkout exclusively. So why not just use the billing system they provide?

So what’s the incentive to use the service now that the savings are done (the promotion ended on December 26th)? Does anyone see a real advantage of the service when using popular merchants? I personally don’t. I wouldn’t have bothered to use it if it wasn’t giving me a discount. Google claims:

Stop creating multiple accounts and passwords.
With Google Checkoutâ„¢ you can quickly and easily buy from stores across the web and track all your orders and shipping in one place.

How many people regularly shop from more than a handful of retailers? Is this really such an issue? I’d guess most people tend to use the same username/password on multiple sites anyway (or a variation, or a password manager), or use to help them generate passwords they can remember (hint, hint). Browsers also remember login credentials for users. Amazon goes as far as keeping users logged in and offers “1-Click” purchasing.

Shop with confidence.
Our fraud protection policy covers you against unauthorized purchases made through Google Checkout, and we don’t share your purchase history or full credit card number with sellers.

Most credit card companies offer the same fraud protection. Purchase history? So they will ship my package and not record what went where? How is that audited? My guess is merchants know who bought what. I do believe they keep your credit number away from sellers, but do you often buy from someone you don’t really trust (besides Ebay, which doesn’t allow Google Checkout)?

Control commercial spam.
You can keep your email address confidential, and easily turn off unwanted emails from stores where you use Google Checkout.

I’m not sure about anyone else, but the sellers I buy from don’t spam me. I just choose not to receive promotions from the ones I don’t want.

Perhaps I’m a stubborn person for not purchasing from just anyone with a website (since I know they aren’t that difficult to make). I tend to buy only from reputable merchants with a proven track record. I know offers too good to be true, typically are. I wouldn’t walk into a shady store with 0 customers in a bad neighborhood either. Maybe that’s just me.

So what’s the killer feature of Google Checkout? What does it offer?

Google Internet

eBay Blocks Google Checkout

I had just finished writing up some code to implement PayPal into a billing system, when Google launched “Google Checkout”. While reading up on the implementation guide, I was wondering how long until eBay felt threatened by it. PayPal is extremely stagnant. It doesn’t handle many of the cool things Google Checkout can (PayPal cart is virtually useless).

Well, I have my answer. eBay decided to just block it. Rather lame. This will either up being settled very quickly, or end up in court.

I guess my next question “can they standardize the interfaces so programming to use a service is just a matter of a new URL?” is something I can answer myself.