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Google GBuy, Checkout or Wallet?

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Monday June 19, 2006 )

Update: June 29 – Google Checkout launched; read an initial review – click here

It’s been rumored that Google’s much awaited “GBuy” payment service will launch in the next week or two. Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated mid last year that that GBuy (codenamed Google Wallet at the time) was not intended to be direct competitor of PayPal. That may have changed.

Supposedly GBuy will launch as a beta (is there anything launched these days that isn’t?) and during that phase, the service will be free. After the beta phase, transaction fees will reportedly be between 1.5 and 2%. I haven’t seen anything floating around about an additional flat fee per transaction as is there is with PayPal. If this is indeed the case, GBuy will most certainly be competitive with PayPal.

It’s also rumored that a “Trusted GBuy Merchant” tag will appear next to search engine results listings for merchants who participate in GBuy.

Other similar services that have sprung up over the years have really never been a serious threat to PayPal as they just didn’t have the type of cash involved to promote or develop in order to eclipse the well established nature of PayPal.

There has also been the trust aspect that has helped stymie attempts to gain a real foothold. PayPal opened the door for millions of people to safely get involved with ecommerce and where cold hard cash is involved, people are resistant to change; especially with all the ripoffs and scam companies that emerged in the following years.

But given that Google is basically a household name, they may just pull it off – the “Trusted GBuy Merchant” tag appearing in search engine results in itself would give the service rapid and massive exposure.

In fact, if the service is even just on equal footing with PayPal in terms of features and costs, I feel it could be a serious threat to PayPal’s market share in a relatively short space of time.

One of the issues I see that may slow adoption somewhat is eBay. I can’t see eBay, who owns PayPal, offering its members GBuy as a payment option to offer on their listings for a very long time, if ever – and with so many people using eBay, it will be somewhat an ecommerce bastion for PayPal.

As mentioned, GBuy’s launch date and features are just rumors. I have also heard that it *won’t* be able to be used for person-to-person cash transfers, but purely a payment processing/merchant account service for businesses. That being the case, it will be more like a service such as 2CheckOut rather than PayPal.

Who knows – Google is well known for quietly leaking snippets of information out that can’t be tracked back, which serves to fuel more rumors and before you know it, a somewhat different beast to what is touted is actually rolled out. It’s all part of their PR strategy for keeping the company in the news and why not – heck, it works :).

Even the name as far as I know is just a rumor. Interestingly, Google seems to be working with the subdomain name, in recent days. So perhaps it will be launched as Google Checkout instead?

Anyway, there’s no doubt that within a couple of hours of its launch, thousands of news sites will be announcing the service. Whether it’s Google Wallet, Google GBuy or Google Checkout, I guarantee the rollout won’t be a quiet affair, so don’t be too concerned about possibly missing out on the news :).

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2 comments for Google GBuy, Checkout or Wallet?
  1. Eric Schmidt continued to deny the parallels between PayPal and “GBuy” last Thursday as well it appears:

    “It makes no sense for us to go into businesses that are occupied by existing leaders,” he said. “We want to solve new problems in the payments space.”


    Comment by Michael Bloch — June 20, 2006 @ 4:06 am

  2. The wait is over; “GBuy” is actually called Google Checkout and was launched a few hours ago – learn more here

    Comment by Michael Bloch — June 29, 2006 @ 5:34 am

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