There's a lot of talk today about Google releasing its long-awaited PayPal killer, dubbed Google Checkout. On the surface, it looks very much like the various e-wallet endeavors that launched and failed in the 90's. But the idea of not having to fill out credit card information at every online store does hold some appeal, and Google may have a shot at making it work. For one thing, their large advertising base gives them a natural group of companies to sell the service into, something the other companies never had. To exploit this, the Google is offering rebates to companies that advertise and use Checkout. This is pretty clever; it's generally hard to give discounts on auction-based ads. If they were to, say, give an across the board 10% rebate to advertisers, the price of buying ads would just jump up accordingly. But by giving a slight edge to those who use Checkout, they may create a rush among companies to sign up for it. Another way of thinking about it is that it's less of a PayPal killer than it is an Amazon killer. One of Amazon's main selling points is the convenience it offers consumers. If Checkout enables similar convenience across the web, it may reduce Amazon's appeal. So far, Google's had only minimal success with its non-search busines, but Checkout's clear revenue model and tie-in with an existing services could allow it to actually succeed.
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