Ok, it seems Google is being serious about getting into business.
Google Accounts allows you to use Google users’ authentication in your own apps, i.e. get users authenticated through Google. That cries for a plugin to WordPress, don’t you think? Nice.
Google Checkout seems to provide a central shopping card interface, i.e. a place on your Google homepage where you can see all your online shop transactions. Unfortunately they want me to enter my credit card data (including CVC2/CVV2, which is NOT intended to be stored ANYWHERE!) before telling me where I can use it, so I’ll wait until it shows traction.
Zoli and Jeff are worried about Google having your credit card data. There’s two sides to that: One, maybe they can do a better job securing them than all these small shops. That is, if they manage to provide a payment interface that makes sure the credit card data doesn’t even get to the merchant, like in PayPal’s case. Two, let’s not forget that this is all the banks’ fault in their role as credit card issuers – they could have implemented secure checkout (remenber VISAs 3D Secure initiative?) a long time ago, but it’s just not in their commercial interest.