Advantages: Quick, and efficient for buyer and seller. Inexpensive for vendors
Disadvantages: No 'person to person' facility as yet.
What is Google Checkout
Simply, Google Checkout is a means of paying for online purchases.
It has until recently been largely unknown due to Paypal's stranglehold on online payment provision.
This prompts the question. If we already have Paypal, why use Google Checkout?
Well for a start, consumers should always ensure they have choice, and sometimes that means giving support to a spread of company's or products, otherwise you end up with a near monpoly situation, which is never good for consumers as it takes away choice - when consumers have choice, they have a certain degree of power. So, in this case there is nothing to stop you having accounts with more than one online payment provider.
Another great reason for using Google Checkout is this - there are many potential consumers out there who won't use Paypal because of the many horror stories regarding its alleged bad customer service, and also due to its close associations with ebay (ebay has in recent years dramatically changed its business model, much to the detriment of a significant number of its users, as well as ditching ebay in favour of ebid.net, they are also ditching paypal in favour of Google Checkout). Those who have chosen to ditch Paypal now have an excellent means of paying online.
Using Google Checkout as a means of paying for your online purchases, also means there is a high likelihood you are going to receive your items quicker, due to the way Google Checkout administer getting payment to the vendor or seller.
It must be borne in mind that it is not a 'person to person' means of payment, but rather a relationship between a seller and a buyer.
It is easy to use, once you have set up your account using a very easy verification process.
Where once upon a time most online shoppers were tied to ebay and Amazon for buying online, Google Checkout opens your shopping experience to a HUGE range of other online shopping venues, major and minor players - I could list many of these, but it really would appear as if I was padding out this review, but to cut it short many High Street retailers are now offering this method online, as well as many medium and small online players.
There is a URL at the foot of this review giving a list of many (and I mean a lot) of sellers offering Google Checkout.
Google Checkout really comes into its own if you are an ebid.net buyer or seller, and this is simplicity in itself.
When you buy from ebid.net, the whole experience is integrated into a checkout button. The seller gets this information, and is expected to act upon it immediately, including entering the appropriate how shipped and when shipped.
You can even now shop for purchases directly on Google, this is great for anyone looking for a rare item, as you have a greater chance of finding this through Google rather than on the online auction sites. The results Google throw back at you will also state if the seller is offering Google checkout.
I have mainly described Google Checkout to this point from a buyers point of view. For the online seller it is a dream to use, though you must have a 'merchant' website, THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM! All you do is sign up for an ebid account and sell your stuff via ebid.net - this then allows you to have a website address for Google's purposes. Also from the seller's point of view it is much cheaper, as well as easier to use than 'you-know-who', the benefit of this is that if it is cheaper for the seller to run his business it is invariably cheaper for the buyer.
Whether you are an online shopper or seller, you really must have a Google Checkout account, and if you already have a favourite online payment company, it can do you no harm to use Google Checkout and give yourself the choice.
Useful related URLS
checkout.google.com/ - this should take you to the main site
checkout.google.com/buyer/merchants.html - a list of merchants offering Google Checkout as payment method
ebid.net - where Google Checkout is highly praised by many of its sellers
Summary: At last a monopoly breaking online payment system that is efficient.