April 13, 2007 8:44 AM PDT
Google Checkout debuts in the U.K.
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Google Checkout allows online shoppers to enter their payment details once, then use their Google log-in to pay at all participating sites. It has been available in the U.S. since last summer, but was launched in the U.K. on Friday.
It's "great news for retailers because shoppers will have a better experience when visiting their sites," said Jerry Dischler, Google's senior product manager, adding that thousands of retailers and millions of shoppers had been using the service since its U.S. launch.
Google Checkout also ties in closely with the company's Adwords service, which lets businesses put short, targeted, text-based advertisements alongside Google users' search results. Although businesses do not have to be Adwords users to use Google Checkout, those who do will see a Checkout icon appear on their ads--a feature that Google claims will attract shoppers who are seeking an "easy and trusted payment option."
As an extra incentive for U.K. businesses to use both services, Google is offering to process 10 pounds ($19.80) of a retailer's sales for free for every 1 pound the retailer spends on Adwords.
From the shopper's perspective, those without existing Google Checkout log-ins are able to create them while visiting the retailer's site. Shoppers can also view their transaction history through one page, and--as with Google Checkout's main rival, Paypal--can use the service to avoid giving online retailers direct access to their card details.
Several e-commerce providers such as EKM Systems, Imano and ChannelAdvisor have integrated Google Checkout into their own platforms, although some of these providers have similar deals with PayPal.
Last year online auction site eBay, which owns PayPal, banned its users from selling goods using Google Checkout. Although many claimed this was simply to protect PayPal, eBay alleged it was because Checkout--and certain other payment applications--did not meet eBay's rigorous standards.
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.
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