Google announced today that as of November 20th, Google Checkout will be closing its doors forever. Thankfully Google is giving merchants who rely on this service six months to find a replacement.
The promotion of Google Wallet comes as little surprise. I have watched over the past 12 months as Google has gravitated towards mobile as a whole. Last week they announced Fast and Easy Checkout App for Android, completely revamped AdMob (a mobile ad distribution platform) and if you where to check out Google Think you would see that a majority of the content focuses on mobile.
I must admit however that shutting down Checkout is a bit of a surprise given that while it was not the most sophisticated product out there, it certainly was incredibly elegant, easy to use, and for some a better choice than Paypal. I serve on the board of a non-profit that uses it to collect dues and in the very early days of Flint Digital we used it to collect payments.
Why Shutting Down Checkout in Favor of Wallet is Good
This is clearly a move to put more effort into mobile and better position themselves in the mobile eCommerce economy. Naturally we think this is pretty cool. For an eCommerce merchant allowing users to checkout via your Android device without having to enter data into a form is great thing (Paypal offers similar functionality on both iPhone and Android incidentally.) If you already have a payment solution such as Authorize.net then transitioning to Wallet should be pretty straightforward.
Given that you can now use Google Wallet and other mobile payment platforms at the supermarket they should be used on websites (especially mobile.)
Why Shutting Down Checkout in Favor of Wallet is Bad
For anyone exclusively using Google Checkout as there payment provider, you are out of luck. Google has announced partnerships with Braintree, Shopify and Freshbooks to provide account setup. If none of these would work for you then you have to find another solution. These all have a monthly cost that you have to carry versus Checkout, which only cost when a sale was made. Google Checkout also made it really easy to sell online from a basic website. While paypal offers this as well, I always felt the Google option was cooler. This additional layer of complexity will certainly force some into the arms of Paypal.
I guess part of it is that I just hate to see tools that I admire crawl under the porch to die unceremoniously. While I only know of a handful of people that use it exclusively I was always pleased to see it in use due to it’s simplicity and ease of use.