Despite the recent problems Google has had with their site, this post is not predicting the demise of Google Checkout. Instead, it’s an educated guess that Google Checkout will overtake eBay’s Paypal in number of transactions this year and become the de facto standard for online retailers.
Of course, Google Checkout needs to add 1 feature to actually make that happen – an offline merchant terminal running the Checkout API. What? A small credit card scanner with a small screen and a couple of buttons, which interacts with Google’s Checkout service through the API. Google Checkout will then be able to process offline transactions.
But why? Because Paypal already owns the online transaction market, but that’s not where the majority of all transactions are located. Instead, Google needs to realize that there is an underserved offline retail sector that needs a way to process transactions. If you told the local retailer that for the next year, they wouldn’t have to pay credit card transaction fees and an easy way to do it, Google would have a line out the door.
The real benefit would be the further acquisition of the SMB, which Google already started on this year with the partnership with Intuit. Google gets more data on offline transactions, finds more businesses for local search, and most importantly, the ability to sell more Google Adwords.
If Google paid a referral fee, I’m sure there’d be a mashup of the API and some cheap hardware already.
UPDATE: Google Checkout is getting punchy, blatantly trying to buy new users with a $10 offer on the usually minimalist home page. Several other sources are predicting more Google Checkout related developments in the near future.