Google’s move into online payment has been rumoured for some time now, at least since Google Base launched last fall. The thinking was that it made sense to attach a growing database of stuff to a payment system, which could theoretically compete with both Craigslist.org and eBay.com, not to mention Amazon. And it still makes sense – so much sense that it’s actually happening. Google says it has begun incorporating payments for Google Base items with your Google account, the same one you use for your Gmail and for creating those crappy web pages with Google Page Creator.
In fact, it’s been incorporated to the point where Greg Yardley has already bought something – a pink highlighter. Greg says the experience was preferable to that of buying through eBay-owned PayPal.com, which he said he despises. According to the comments on Greg’s blog, John K. of Got Ads has already bought a rock. Inside Ads has more info about Google Base if you’re interested.
On the official Google blog, they seem to be trying to downplay the whole “crush eBay, Craigslist-killer” kind of thing, although they do say that Google has “billed advertisers in 65 countries more than $11.2 billion in 48 currencies, and made payments to advertising partners of more than $3.9 billion.” Not exactly a little startup.
Bill Burnham notes that this is exactly how it is likely to roll out – gradually, but picking up speed. It means that Google has built a payment platform that is large enough and scalable enough that virtually anything is possible. Bill, who is a Very Smart Guy TM also points out that the “Buy It Now” feature that Google appears to have its sights on currently makes up about 40 per cent of eBay’s business. And in a related post, he discusses how the way Google has structured the service implies a greatly expanded role for it in the Google universe.