Google and online payments?

Jun 18, 2005 18:10 · 332 words · 2 minute read

If this story about Google’s plan to take on PayPal has any truth to it, this may indeed be a fine time to invest in GOOG despite the $70 billion valuation. Why? Because my guess is that if they enter that market they have original spin on online payments. I can’t imagine that they would just offer up a clone of PayPal. Everything else they’ve done to date has had a significant technological edge to it.


This is what I posted in response to Scott Sanders’ post about Google going after micropayments.

That’s interesting. I very nearly wrote on my blog that Google could implement a functional micropayments system.

I’m just not sure that that’s what they’ll go after though. I was reminded of Clay Shirky’s article (that actually goes all the way back to 2000!) arguing that micropayments are bad, because people will need to make a thousand little purchase decisions every day. Imagine if your typical blog was 1 cent per page viewed. 1 cent is nothing and seems easy to throw away… but if every blog you viewed did that, you probably would view a whole lot less and think about what you subscribe to more. Here’s Shirky’s article:

That said, I do think you’re right that if Google pushed some kind of identity system and reduced the general friction in payments somewhat, they could produce a lower-cost (to buyers and sellers) system. This may have the sideeffect of enabling micropayments, but I doubt that their pitch is going to be about micropayments.

I’m certain that they’ll keep a transaction log and that it’ll be no big deal for them. (I betcha they have an absolutely enormous amount of data being logged as it is.)

One other thing to note that I didn’t see in the article that I had linked to or here: this story apparently was in the Wall Street Journal, which gives it a modicum of credibility.,,SB111905141149263168-IdjgINhlaN4oJyobIKHbK2Bm4,00.html

(I got that link from /.)