Google Inc is already part of the e-commerce plumbing with its AdWords and AdSense programs, but is now trying dramatically expand that role with the launches of Google Checkout and Authentication Proxy services.
Google Checkout, long anticipated as a Paypal killer, is in essence an online wallet for payment information that buyers and sellers can tap into to speed up purchases.
Using the service, merchants can add buy it now buttons to their pages using Google-generated code, or they can tie their existing off-the-shelf or custom shopping cart applications to the service using a Google API.
Google stores the user’s payment and shipping information, to make purchases a little quicker for them, and takes a cut of the purchase price – 2%, with a $0.20 per transaction fee. Yes, Google finally has another revenue source.
The service is integrated with AdWords on a number of levels, which should help Google quickly gain market share.
For starters, Google is offering to process for free purchases valued at 10 times the amount the merchant spends on AdWords. So if you spend $1,000 on AdWords, you get $10,000 of Checkout transactions gratis.
Second, AdWords-using sites get a little icon next to their ads, showing that their site can accept Checkout payments, which could drive traffic if Checkout catches on among buyers.
In its second service launch, the company started offering Google Account Authentication APIs, giving web and client application developers the ability to incorporate Google Accounts-based services into their own apps.
Rather than a catch-all federated authentication system for web services, along the lines of the ill-fated Microsoft Passport, it is aimed at developers that want to programmatically access protected Google services, such as Google Calendar, in their own applications.