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Scuttlebutt on G-Wallet and the Base

Posted on 2.28.2006

The word on the Web is that Google is quietly testing its online payment system. Quietly may not be the right word - it's been top of mind for many e-tailers, merchants and the rest of us for quite some time - months in fact. Personally, I can't wait to see it first hand. As long as it is as easy to implement and as cost effective as PayPal for the general Web population, I expect that Google will rocket to a level that blows away investment analysts' expectations.

The real benefit from an advertising and search marketing perspective (not just Google, although it will clearly benefit them) is that click-fraud over time may become less and less of an issue. If the Google payment system can help close the loop on tracking ad effectiveness it will be a bright and sunny day on the 'Net. Google could conceivably (once it is officially deployed) know which ads are not only driving clicks but also transactions.

One thing we should realize about Google is to never over-estimate its ability and willingness to get into a new market - excel is another matter entirely however. While it is clearly the dominant leader in search, Google has yet to take total control of another market - be it e-mail (Gmail), blogging (Blogger) or comparative shopping (Froogle). Let's consider Google Base, the only other logical implementation of Google's payment system besides Froogle. Many 'Net insiders argue that it is potentially devastating to EBay. I might agree with that if I were tired or just waking up, or if people actually used Google Base - neither of which is the case at the time of this writing.

If, 1) there were a way to limit the overwhelmingly poor quality of Google Base contents (maybe tie it in some respect to using the online payment solution - let's be honest, we're all trying to sell something and if you're not get out of Google Base), and 2) actually integrate Google Base listings into organic search listings or Froogle or something where end-users are actually searching then we might have something. Otherwise, both the payment solution and Google Base are solutions looking for a problem.

While the company warrants and generates all kinds of attention for its search and publisher offerings, I'll believe the hype surrounding it's payment system (whatever it will finally be named) when it actually starts to win share away from Paypal and Ebay- the clear leader in online payment solutions and online selling opportunities. Google is going up against a very powerful company that is willing to fight to retain its market share. It's going to be an interesting few months.

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