Google Launches Electronic Payment Service

Search giant Google today launched its long-awaited electronic payment service, "Google Checkout," which allows merchants to set up a quick checkout service that ties users' payment and shipping information to their Google log-in information.

Benjamin Ling, Google's lead product manager for the service, said he expected it would streamline the process of making online purchases. "One of the things that we're hearing a lot is that consumers don't have a lot of patience for slow, unreliable checkout processes," Ling said. "Google Checkout helps complete the cycle for our users, so they can search, find, and buy."

To implement the feature, Google will place a small, green shopping cart icon next to paid search links from AdWords merchants that use the service. The fee for merchants is 2 percent of the purchase price, and an additional 20 cents per transaction. But AdWords merchants will receive a discount--$10 of free transactions for every dollar spent buying pay-per-click ads.

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Greg Sterling, principal analyst for Sterling Marketing Intelligence, said the discount would likely encourage use both of AdWords and Checkout. "It's going to be a reward for AdWords users, and an incentive for other users who realize they can get this service for free," he said.

At launch, the service will support the four major credit cards, Ling said, and Google is exploring allowing consumers to use other payment methods when checking out with Google--including Paypal, Ling said.

Rumors surrounding Google Checkout first surfaced about one year ago, but intensified in recent weeks.

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