My take on the newly launched Google Checkout, the company's payment service:
* Contrary to all the pre-launch chatter, it isn't really a direct threat to Paypal/Ebay. It is more of a merchant service than a replacement for one-off person-to-person payments.
* It is, however, a potential problem for Amazon. Looking at my own behavior, the main reason I buy from Amazon is that I trust it (mostly), and that it has my credit card information already. I trust Google about as much as I trust Amazon, so if I have credit/delivery info stored at Google and can make a purchase cleanly through a Google Checkout-affiliated non-Amazon merchant then I'm happy to do it.
* Unlike almost all of Google's recent errant launches, this one does lever the company's core ad business. Why they spend so much time on nonsense like Google Spreadsheets, and don't launch things like this sooner, I have no idea.
Om has a provocative and thoughtful take on Google Checkout:
... this is a dangerous and most brilliant assault on the "cost per click" [CPC] plans of Microsoft, Yahoo and everyone else who is coming to the party ... late. This move is about cost-per-action advertising. It is about kicking up the online advertising business ... a notch!
Read the whole thing.
And there is a confused piece over at ZDNet saying that the Google service has "predatory" pricing. After studiously citing a Georgetown Law Journal paper from a few years back, the author argues that consumers may be hurt by Google's low pricing.
Huh? While that's possible, let's just say I'm more than happy to take that chance. Please move along and find someone else to protect. Thanks.