Google have a relatively new service called Checkout in the US which they have just launched in the UK (Google Checkout).
This application has similar functionality to PayPal, but because Google has its fingers in so many pies, I see potential for this to be very much integrated into the whole Internet experience. They already tie this in with AdWords campaigns, showing the Google Checkout logo on associated adverts. They also offer a discount on processing costs if you use their Google AdWords service.
I admire the strategy they employ. Google distances itself from the portal sites such as Yahoo and MSN; and although they offer most of the same services – search, email, news, blog, shopping, maps, etc. each project they work on is focused, and dedicated with it’s own space and identity.
Google is most known for it’s search. One simple box with one simple use. They are constantly changing the algorithms to improve relevance.
It keeps people who work in SEO on their toes, weeding out all the quick fixes and tricks to “get you to the top of the Google”; and forcing people to think of what the user really wants, something which will engage users and bring them back for more.
Google gives away a lot – free email, blogs, developer resources, and even office applications. They have a working culture which promotes innovation, cool tools that people want to use, encouraging user engagement, rather than a main focus of ‘how can this be monetized’ and ‘what revenue can be achieved’.
Of course Google make money, but from advertising revenue.
Because of the size of Google, and the money behind it, this experimentation is a luxury that most smaller companies cannot emulate.
I use it every day, but I’m sometimes uncomfortable with its increasing domination. I’m interested to hear what you think, so let me know…
More information on Google Checkout.