Google Raises E-Commerce Stakes With Checkout Option

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Google has launched its Google Checkout service with e-commerce networks like Ritz Interactive and DMinSite already offering the functionality on their sites.

The service is supposed to make Web shopping faster, safer and more convenient through a single login and by listing secure places to shop in search result ads.

"I believe that this is actually positioned to solve a perplexing and core problem at Google: how to drive more search ad revenues, especially in the retail sector where search spending is plateauing for top keywords," said Charlene Li, principal analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA.

The Google Checkout logo will be visible on www.RitzCamera.com, www.WolfCamera.com, www.BoatersWorld.com, www.CameraWorld.com, www.PhotoAlley.com, www.eAngler.com and www.OuterBanksOuffitters.com, identifying them as official Google Checkout online shopping sites. Ritz Interactive runs these sites.

Edmunds Scientific  is an example of a DMinSite Web site that will be using Google Checkout.

"We think for shoppers who use search to find products, Google Checkout makes it a lot easier to purchase," said Larry Kavanagh, CEO of DMinSite, Covington, KY.

"This will increase the conversion of paid search for merchants with this feature enabled," he said. "We're trying to give our clients a competitive advantage over sites without Google Checkout."

Here's how it works.

First, shoppers find stores that accept Google Checkout. They are marked with the Google Checkout icon on AdWords advertisements and on the merchant's actual site.

Shoppers then create a login right from the merchant's site with a username and password, according to Mountain View, CA-based Google.

Whenever consumers are shopping online at a store that offers Google Checkout, they can select Google Checkout, quickly complete their transaction with their login information and avoid having to fill out various forms.

Shoppers can keep track of their purchase history, including orders and shipping details -- all in one place.

"Now we have Google tracking our search history with personalized search, e-mail with Gmail, and online spending with Checkout," Ms. Li said. "At what point do consumers get that squishy feeling in their gut that Google knows too much?"

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