After months of speculation, Google have finally launched Google Checkout, their eagerly anticipated rival to the ubiquitous PayPal. As the feature tour demonstrates, the objective is to make online shopping as simple and user-friendly as possible: you search, click to buy, and the data stored in your Google account is used for payment and shipping etc. You can then track all your orders and shipping in one place (Google, obviously!).
I’m very wary of Google’s strategy to dominate the web. Granted, most of their services are free, but they can now know what you search for, control your email, know the contents of your calendar, and where and how you spend your money online. This data has great value to their advertisers, and consequently great monetary value to Google, but there are many ways in which they could potentially sell or misuse this data for the forces of evil (and no, I don’t care about their “informal” corporate motto).
PayPal is far from perfect, but they can keep my business for the time being.