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Google Checkout will be retired, transition to Google Wallet (googlecommerce.blogspot.com)
204 points by dpick on May 20, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 163 comments

Google is making the same mistakes Microsoft made. Trying to enter into every industry it can thinking it can use it's monopoly power to take over the world. Reality: Doing 20 things mediocrely is not as profitable of doing 2 things very very well.


1) Constant experiments and dropped products (just like Microsoft).

2) Consumers no longer trust your services to stick around and no longer even invest in your platforms (*see most of Microsoft's offerings).

3) The services you do have aren't the highest quality and your brand takes a hit as being "giant mediocre corporation" like Microsoft instead of "high quality company" like Apple.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Completely agree. I'm so disappointed in Google for having Checkout for years and not doing anything serious with it. I really wanted it to become a serious alternative to Paypal. But it's like they never even tried.

And it turned out to be huge mistake for them because they could've really used Checkout accounts from day one of Android, to get people to pay for Android apps. I still believe this has been one of the biggest obstacles on Android, because you need Google Wallet (which is brand new service, I guess) account to pay for apps, and obviously the vast majority of people didn't have one, and didn't bother to make one either, and they'd rather look for the free alternative of the app.

It's been getting a bit better since Android 4.0, since they are asking everyone to make an account at the set-up, but they are still behind, and it could've been much better early on if Checkout was popular.

As someone who used to recruit for Google, and watched the team recruit THOUSANDS of developers only to discontinue product after product, wtf are these guys all doing?

what do you mean "could replace paypal"?

I use google checkout for pretty much everything I can't buy at amazon. It's accepted at lots and lots of places. and usually it's my deciding factor when selecting for two stores.

I don't use paypal because their system sucks if you have international credit cards and because of the lack of moral grounds they showed. never missed it (but then, i don't send money to random people, just merchants)

edit: well, used.

He means it in the sense that most people stick to PayPal and your story is nothing but a blip. Google never gave enough incentive for most people to leave PayPal for Checkout. I doubt the majority of my PayPal using friends have ever heard of Checkout, let alone used it.

i don't think checkout can even be used to exchange money. only pay for stuff... but good point.

As a merchant who doesn't live in the US -- I don't think I can sell anything but Android apps with Google Checkout.

Paypal still wants my business.

>what do you mean "could replace paypal"? I use google checkout for pretty much everything I can't buy at amazon. It's accepted at lots and lots of places. and usually it's my deciding factor when selecting for two stores.

He means you're an outlier, checkout wasn't going anywhere and nobody used it, and it wasn't even international (as PayPal is).

They haven't done anything with Google Finance either, and bugs seem to go a long time before they're fixed.

Seems like they'll close all outstanding bugs by shutting that down, too.

> Reality: Doing 20 things mediocrely is not as profitable of doing 2 things very very well.

Reality also is that there is often a declining marginal value in additional investments in the same area once you are already doing very well in that area, and that the marginal profit from doing something else mediocre may be greater than the marginal profit from doing the existing thing a tiny bit better.

And lots of Google's experiments that are outside of what are understood to be its core strengths when they are introduced end up as things that are at the top of their field: Gmail and Chrome, for instance, weren't at the center of what Google did when they were introduced.

Gmail was, sort of anyway. It opened another avenue to deliver advertising, which is the center of what google does.

You've got it backwards. They built Gmail as a fun project to improve a product in an area they didn't specialize in, then worked the ads in after the fact to monetize when it became popular.

I would posit that Google isn't doing well in search from a quality perspective, but obviously they are doing very well from a market share perspective. This just means they are ripe for disruption.

> I would posit that Google isn't doing well in search from a quality perspective, but obviously they are doing very well from a market share perspective. This just means they are ripe for disruption.

By what standard? If its just your personal subjective interpretation, it just means that someone has an opportunity to steal you away as a consumer.

If there really is a broadly-shared, unmet need among Google's current consumer base that is both technically feasible to address and easier to address in a new platform (either technically or for social -- e.g., for organizational inertia reasons) than it would be for Google to implement in their own services, then, yes, Google is ripe for disruption.

But lots of people (including people selling rival search engines sponsored by deep pockets rivals) have been saying that since shortly after Google became the dominant search engine, so unless you are going to spend the effort to either make a credible case as to the specific unmet need that supports your claim that Google is ripe for disruption (and "I would posit that Google isn't doing well in search from a quality perspective" is the polar opposite of "specific" here) or, better yet, show me the MVP of your product that not only identifies the unmet need but demonstrates the feasibility of meeting it, I don't see much substance to your position.

Do a search for just about any topic (like "kite sailing" or "Star Wars") and tell me how many pages until you get to a site that wasn't created by a corporation.

> Do a search for just about any topic (like "kite sailing" or "Star Wars") and tell me how many pages until you get to a site that wasn't created by a corporation.

First: That doesn't specifically identify a broadly-shared need among Google's existing user base that Google isn't meeting.

Second, when I do a search for either of those I get personal blogs and/or fan sites on the first page. So, unless your problem is that that shouldn't be the case, I think the perceived situation you were obliquely referencing isn't even accurate.

>I would posit that Google isn't doing well in search from a quality perspective

That would only be true if there was a search engine with better quality results.

I agree that Google has dropped it's quality (compared to itself) but it's still better than anything else.

That's a myopic way to look at it, in my opinion. If there is a quality deficit in search Google is in the best position to remedy it. And if they don't, someone else eventually will. As the parent pointed out, there isn't much marginal value in adding investment in an area that you are dominating. And this is almost always the downfall of market leaders.

Um, did you read the post or just the headline. Aren't they just replacing Google Checkout with Google Wallet and isn't Google Wallet better than Google Checkout? It sounds like an upgrade to me. What am I missing?

Is it just a messaging problem? If they had instead said "We're renaming Google Checkout to Google Wallet. We're introducing API v2. API v1 is deprecated and will be turned off in 6 months so upgrade your apps." would that have changed your response?

No, that is not accurate. Google Checkout processes payments for the merchant, and Google deposits the funds in the merchant's bank account.

With the new system, Google has an API to give you the users information, but the merchant must have some way of processing the payment.

So these two are not the same at all.

I can tell you for my ecommerce site, I intend to drop Google Wallet altogether.. After the numerous Froogle/Google shopping api changes, I have no hope that the new api will stick around for any reasonable amount of time. So I just don't think it's worth the effort.

Edit: for comparison to Google Checkout, I get roughly 15x the number of orders with PayPal.. and 25x the number of orders from Visa/MC/Dscv/Amex.

Google's implementation of Checkout was flawed from the start (esp how they handled/treated merchants).. So I'm not surprised it didn't go anywhere.

"Google's implementation of Checkout was flawed from the start (esp how they handled/treated merchants)"

I don't mean this to sound like Google treated its merchants badly.. because that's not the case. Google was ok, and I don't have any bad stories to tell. But several of their policies were not pro-merchant (some outright anti-merchant)... it was as if the entire thing (from the interface, the policies, etc) was put together by someone who had never used another payment processor in their life. It was like someone just sat down one day, decided how it should work, and did it.. without bothering to understand what any of their competitors were doing.

I don't know how true that is.. but that is what it seemed like from the beginning.

Saying that Google Checkout is being replaced is extremely misleading to merchants. Almost all Google Checkout merchants process less than a million with Google Checkout, so it is not worth it for them to do their own credit card processing or if they are large enough, there isn't enough of a value prop to use the wallet API.

The Wallet API was announced back in November, but it seems never caught on. I remember that 1800 Flowers and Rockport were offering discounts to customers that used Buy with Wallet, but this doesn't seem very successful by the lack of top merchants that aren't adopting it (even when there is a financial incentive like when Google funded the discounts for Rockport and 1800 flowers). Yes all people that buy Android apps have a Google Wallet account, but they aren't using this account outside of the Android ecosystem.

The customer support for checkout just isn't there as well. It has always been via email and extremely slow. With Paypal if you do over 200k then you get a dedicated account manager and they always have phone support. It has always seemed like a product that they are trying to make solve a problem it isn't equipped to handle- like having Android developers setup a Google Checkout account in order to get paid. It isn't designed for developer needs but it works well enough to get by.

The "Wallet for digital goods API" continues to process transactions for you, so there is still processing in Wallet.

Besides that, as far as I can see a merchant would be more likely to get volume discounts on their transactions by funneling them into one payment processor. In this way the thinner Wallet API would seem like an improvement given that no merchant will have Wallet as their sole supplier of transaction processing (as you point out, most people order with CC). Fewer merchant accounts should also lead to less administration.

'The "Wallet for digital goods API" continues to process transactions for you, so there is still processing in Wallet.'

Checkout was used by merchants that sell physical goods. So the digital goods api is irrelevant.

> Google's implementation of Checkout was flawed from the start (esp how they handled/treated merchants).. So I'm not surprised it didn't go anywhere.

As you say, Google's implementation was flawed from start. Doesn't it make sense then to fix it and make things right?

I'm all for Google fixing things and making their service(s) better.. but....

I have no idea if Wallet is better than Checkout, since I haven't used Wallet. For all I know Google made the same mistakes with that service as well.

But the biggest reason I don't plan to go along with Wallet: the complete neglect of Checkout. Checkout launched in 2006. I signed up around 2008. Want to know how many improvements Google has made to the service (excluding minor policy changes)? The answer is 0. The service never changed as far as I could tell. Google never fixed a single issue with their interface. They never fixed the major policy issues.

Shortly after Wallet launched in 2011, Google renamed part of the service: When consumers buy an item using Checkout, they are using Google Wallet. So these services are not completely unrelated. I would not be surprised if Google kept many of their policies and other problems...

It does sound like Google has given Wallet a lot more attention than they did Checkout. But I also remember the hype they gave Checkout when it launched.. and this in many ways feels similar.

Checkout could have been quite good. It could have competed with PayPal (like they wanted it to).. It was probably 90% of the way there... but instead of improving the service, they did nothing with it for 5 years.. then they developed a replacement.. and now they're telling everyone on Checkout that it's dead, and they should move to a new, but very similar service.

> As you say, Google's implementation was flawed from start. Doesn't it make sense then to fix it and make things right?

From their perspective, that's what Wallet is.

The thing is, you seem to see Google Checkout as centrally being "credit card processing" and the implementation problem being how Google handled credit card processing.

Google, more than likely, say Google Checkout's value proposition as "enabling users to pay for goods and services using their Google Account" and the implementation problem being "it required us to be a credit card processor".

1) There was nothing wrong with google credit card processing. 2) the value prop you just wrote was not the value prop google had for checkout. They were clear checkout was to compete with paypal.

wallet fits your value prop.. that came 5 years later

I'm not a merchant, but it sounds like there's a bigger difference from that side -"If you don't have your own payment processing, you will need to transition to a different solution within six months. To make things easier, we've partnered with Braintree, Shopify and " to offer you discounted migration options. "

Actually that would have been a more logical way to put it.

edit: IOW I agree with you.

Except they seem to be doing a great job jumping into new products and services?

Google Wallet looks like a big improvement over their old system.

  Google Wallet looks like a big improvement over their old system.
I'm not trying to be a dick: How?

I said looks like because as a developer I haven't used Checkout vs Wallet APIs, but people I've spoken with have told me Wallet is a lot easier to work with. Also Wallet is already on millions of consumer devices and likely has far more users already in their system. This doesn't mean it wouldn't have been better to merge the two products, but seeing as they are disparate systems Wallet looks like the superior of the two.

> Google is making the same mistakes Microsoft made. Trying to enter into every industry it can thinking it can use it's monopoly power to take over the world.

I call this the Spaghetti Cannon strategy.

Load up a cannon with cash and different ideas, blow up the cash and see what sticks to the wall.

If we redrew the corporate boundaries of Google and Microsoft, we'd see them as investment firms tasked with turning a reliable long term cashflows into new reliable long term cashflows. Quasi-venture firms.

So far, Google has advertising. And that's it.

Microsoft have Windows, Office, Server & Tools and Xbox.

So in actual fact, Microsoft are proving that yeah, it sorta works. Sorta.

Apparently this strategy seems to work also for hardware. Look at Samsung.

Samsung is focusing on a much smaller number of devices than they used to. Yes, they have more than Apple, but they also spend way more on advertising to make up for it.

Instead of hundreds of phones, they have maybe a dozen now that they actively promote. Right now I can't leave the house without being bombarded by Samsung advertising, they're in some kind of feverish campaign over their new Note phone-tablet-thing.

They are actually turning back to that. The are at least 5 new different variants coming up of their S4 "flagship": S4 regular, S4 Google Edition, S4 Mini, S4 Active, S4 Zoom, S4 Mega.

And that's just for one "phone brand". Imagine if they do this to every other phone brand of theirs, which are already being called all "Galaxy". Samsung strategy is becoming a mess again. It will work in the short term (a year or so), and then backfire badly.

Depends. Branding works when you actually manage to maintain quality across a lineup.

And TV:s, fridges, computers... They manufacture more than just phones you know.

They don't dominate any market like they do Android phones. Are 90% of all fridges sold made by Samsung?

I disagree on some levels.

I think the amount of innovation and creativity that Google pushes for is amazing.

What if Checkout was the next big thing? At least they tried it and can put it in the history books now.

I do agree with point number 2, that they are making their services seem "legitimate" too quickly. Personally I would move them back to their Google Labs days to solve that problem. Where they would make a larger point of this service being in BETA and possibly not a long term goal.

From there if it passes BETA just streamline it, make it profitable, and keep it for as long as possible.

Perhaps that's what they're doing, but seeing a headline on HN every few days about "X Google Service Shutting Down" is incredibly disheartening and damaging to their brand, I agree completely on that one.

EDIT: The "Go Programming Language was first designed and developed at Google Inc." according to wikipedia. And we all love Go on HN. So it's hit and miss just like anything else, but godspeed to them for trying!

Not that I disagree with your basic premise but I wonder why some companies get away with this type of thing and others don't. Your example of Apple is an obvious one but they have plenty of "failures" on their hands as well. Whether it is something that is dead on arrival like Ping or the company letting one of its old marquee products die a slow death like the MacPro or iPod classic, Apple seems to be able to brush off these issues like no one else.

The services Apple kills are usually rubbish. Ping, Mobile Me, those iPod speakers. Google is killing things that are actually good. I think that is where the Reader backlash came from. Reader was good even if the relative popularity was low.

Hardware is kind of a different thing. The iPod was pretty nice. But now I want a shinier iPod with more features. Production of the Classic just has to match demand from those with niche uses for it. So a slow death makes sense?

Not sure what the situation is with the MacPro...

I think it's different when there're concrete numbers that the company can use to inform their decisions. Apple only does profitable things; if they kill a product, it's because it's no longer making them enough money.

I disagree. Google's recent efforts to narrow its focus (i.e. Google+, killing Reader) have been miserable failures. Being able to do 50 things at once, on the other hand, lets them come up with truly groundbreaking things like Glass and the self-driving car.

Google didn't exactly invent the self-driving car - they basically bought the Stanford team and some people from CMU and elsewhere.

> they basically bought the Stanford team and some people from CMU and elsewhere.

Also, the original impetus came from the DARPA grand challenge.

However, Google do deserve credit for recognising that self-driving cars could have a massive positive impact on society, and bringing the various team members under one roof and funding them would bring the concept from the research lab to the road a lot quicker. I bet many car makers have stepped up their self-driving cars efforts in response to the Google advances.

There's numerous companies and organisations that had the resources to bring the likes of Sebastian Thrun into their fold to work on self-driving cars, but Google were the ones with the vision to actually do it.

This seems to be a mistake that a ton of startups make as well. It's a result of indecisive (read:poor) management and inevitably leads to doing nothing particularly well.

One company that I've seen not fall into this trap is Dropbox. Dropbox offers one amazing service and pours all it's efforts into that, and from what I hear they have some insanely smart people working there doing that. As a result they can afford to decline a $6 billion offer from Google and then go on to compete against Google's inferior offering.

Question. Do you actually use Dropbox ? Because for me it is one of the most overrated services I use. They haven't actually done anything new to the product since the beginning and the CPU load when syncing is still ridiculously high.

IMHO The only reason Dropbox is successful because the alternatives e.g. SkyDrive, Google Drive are so much worse.

If you don't mind me asking, how is Drive much worse? I agree about Dropbox, but I don't think Drive is any worse. If anything the experience I've had with it has been more positive for the simple fact that it integrates with the existing google services I use a lot better (i.e. attachments in gmail). But I don't think it would be fair for me to hold that against Dropbox. Additionally, I haven't had much time with the OSX Drive client, as I work mostly in windows currently, but that seems to work fine as well.

The biggest gripe I've had with anything Drive-related, has been Google's 'Keep' losing some data from notes I made on my phone while I had a tab open with Keep on my laptop. Apparently my phone didn't get a chance to sync properly before I touched my computer again, so it just totally discarded everything I did on my phone. That was annoying, but it's not really something I associate with Drive specifically, since it still seems like an experimental side project they could potentially kill off at any point.

Some time ago I replaced my HDD with an SSD. I copied all my data over (including metadata). Everything pretty much worked as before, although I had to log into Dropbox and Google Drive again.

Dropbox then continued to index all my files and verify that my Dropbox folder was properly synchronized with the server side of things.

Google Drive, however, told me to delete my Google Drive folder and download all my files again.

Since I had a lot of files in there I proceeded by deleting Google Drive and canceling my paid storage instead.

As I mentioned below Google Drive loses data and is unacceptably buggy. Just see the product forums for the countless examples of it happening.

I see no reason why you wouldn't go with Dropbox. Even just for the fact that you shouldn't rely on anything from Google that doesn't have or is related to advertising.

Does it really matter that it isn't tied to Google's ad ecosystem if it has its own revenue stream (paid plans for increased storage)? I know everyone's been a bit shaken up with google's flurry of closures, but this isn't like reader, it's actually being monetized. Not to mention that Google recently consolidated Gmail and Picasa/G+ photo storage into Drive accounts -- this hints that google's long-term plan might be to treat Drive like a sort of unified storage system. This makes sense given google's recent push to unify everything, and should ensure it some stability. If anything, it's more likely that they'll kill off Chrome OS/Chromebooks (which heavily rely on Drive) before they kill off Drive[1], so I feel relatively safe with it. I would go so far as to say that Dropbox feels just as safe because Google isn't exactly a competitor that should be underestimated (despite their many flops).

Either way, I use Docs way too much, to the point where I always have a tab with it open, and Drive really ties everything in quite smoothly for me. I also like the Drive app a bit more than the Dropbox app on my android phone, so not really a strong incentive for me to switch back. I actually never made much of a conscious decision to switch to Drive in the first place, it just kind of happened automatically due to convenience, and now I use it almost exclusively.

The only thing that does bug me is the data-loss. I haven't had it happen in Drive proper, but it happening in the short time I've used Keep certainly lends credibility to it being a wider-spread problem. We'll see...

[1] Not that I feel ChromeOS is 'safe' from the killswitch, but it's still a bit too early to tell what their plan is for that exactly

The Drive client on my Mac would constantly hang. I actually just uninstalled it.

I use Dropbox every day. It just works. I don't need anything new from them, I'm perfectly fine with product that just works. Contrary to popular opinion, most people aren't 5-year-olds with short attention span, that constantly need something new to not get bored. They are busy people with little time to spare, and once they found something that works for them, they'd rather it keep working than search for something "new" that may or may not be useful for them.

Yes I use it and love it.

>IMHO The only reason Dropbox is successful because the alternatives e.g. SkyDrive, Google Drive are so much worse.

Thank you for partially restating what I wrote in my comment.

It's overrated, but all the other competing services are much worse? I'm confused.

Those aren't conflicting statements. If SkyDrive is 5 points worth of good, and Dropbox is widely rated 30 but "actually" a 10, then it's overrated but still better than the competition.

They do seem to be adding lots to Dropbox but I don't get the worship myself. Sugarsync offered me exactly what I wanted that Dropbox didn't and I never looked back.

Other than the frustrating lack of a linux client, how is drive inferior to dropbox?

Google Drive on the Mac anyway is a buggy, intolerable mess. I've lost data. I've experienced hard crashes on startup, during syncing and on exit. You only have to look on the product forums to get an idea. Data loss is simply inexcusable.


For me at least the Windows client was incredibly buggy and unstable. I probably installed and uninstalled it a dozen times over several month trying to fix various problems before giving up on it. Search around the internet indicated that I was far from alone in having problems. Dropbox on the other hand has never crashed on me (on any platform) as far as I can remember.

I also thought Dropbox's Android client was better.

There is linux client here https://www.dropbox.com/install?os=lnx

I was talking about drive not having a linux client (not an official one at least).

4) It annoys the people who do use your product especially if they were already happy with it. Chances are they were the early adopters and evangelists. Their voices are what leads to #2 amplifying the actions.

> 1) Constant experiments and dropped products (just like Microsoft).

> 3) The services you do have aren't the highest quality and your brand takes a hit as being "giant mediocre corporation" like Microsoft instead of "high quality company" like Apple.

Yes, Apple never creates duds; we are all happily using our Newton.

And Ping. :)

Yes, but they're constantly iterating, reviewing, and consolidating. While I agree that Google is tangling itself in many products, I don't think it's going the route of Windows. I enjoy using Google products; I can't say the same for MSoft.

And now I have to work harder to avoid PayPal.

I think I'm going to start looking into my email setup, just in case.

I think it's more the opposite. Google, hyped up on IPO endorphins and VC DNA went out and tried to conquer the world, despite not having a distinct advantages in the businesses it was getting into. The results have been lackluster in many cases (but not all). They probably overdid it. Good on them for realizing that and putting a bullet in some of these efforts. Many companies don't have the courage to do that.

Yes, but it seems to me like they are trying to correct those issues quickly.

That comment reads more like reflex than anything with much thought put behind it: "Google is closing a service; Google is the new Microsoft" that old tired cliche.

First of all it's far form an unexpected announcement seeing as they have been developing another payment service in parallel, and second "monopoly" is a specific legal term, it shouldn't thrown around lightly, it's not just another synonym for "big".

As for your points:

1) Experimentation is net positive, and by definition most of said experiments will fail. You can't really be any sort of a self respecting tech company if you shun experimentation.

2) This is anecdotal, they have a selection of core products and when a peripheral one gets deprecated it's done through a reasonable process as spelled out in that post.

3) That's subjective.

That comment reads like reflex than anything with much though put behind it: "Google is closing a service", "Google is new the Microsoft" the same tired cliche.

First of all it's far form an unexpected announcement seeing as they have been developing another payment service in paralleled, and second "monopoly" is a specific legal term, it shouldn't thrown around lightly, it's not just another synonym for "big".

As for your points:

1) Great things could come out from experimentation so it's a new positive and by definition most of those experiments will fail, you can't really be any sort of a self respected tech company if you shun experimentation.

2) This is anecdotal, they have a selection of core products and when a preferential one gets deprecated it's done through a reasonable process as spelled out in that post.

3) That's subjictive.

There's Google Wallet and recently I'e purchased LastPass premium using that, outside Google's shops I mean. So, they just thought it's better to have either of the two - Checkout or Wallet.

Earlier today I received a phone call from a number in Mountain View CA. It was Google letting me know in advance that Google Checkout was to be shut down (and asking to keep the call quiet). This was, to say the least, very surprising considering I have very little correspondence with Google Checkout and was actually thinking there was a huge problem with my account. Thankfully not but this is still bad news for myself and I presume the industry at large.

Google Checkout was very good with their fraud protection to the point that I did not have to think about it. In fact, over the years I have been growing my business Google have been my rock---never a real issue with them.

PayPal was a similar story but it also seemed to attract the sort of customer that would open a dispute at almost any issue (or just threaten it). You can also count me in one of their horror stories that indirectly cost me £5k and even got to the point where they just flat out refused refunds for my customers who wanted them.

I have a Stripe and GoCardless account as well and I've been trying to make it work but their fraud protection is just not up to scratch compared to Google and PayPal, which is a real shame. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to see enough data to get quite the same fraud protection. Stripe do look fun though.

Another perspective from a merchant: roll on Bitcoin. With exchanges offering guaranteed payouts in another currency (for me, GBP) I take on zero risk by accepting it and it solves so many problems. There's no wonder more and more websites are starting to accept it.

Someone suggested Bitcoin today, as a merchant, what would you recommend to start accepting it? a third party service?

Definitely a third party service. Then place the bumper sticker "No Bitcoins on our servers" somewhere :)

I integrated MtGox and BitPay. Compared to Google Checkout (XML mania) and PayPal (documentation drama) they take about 5 seconds to implement (test is another thing entirely).

I went with MtGox in the end since it was cheaper. I was then happy to offer a 3% discount to make up for the fees users got stung with purchasing BTC. However MtGox has a number of bugs that make it a show stopper for some customers.

If you ask the right questions they will acknowledge the bugs and tell you they are working on it and need plenty of time. I would probably not use MtGox if I had known about the bugs prior to integrating.

Just wanted to public thank you for detailing your experience as a merchant, setting up with MtGox and BitPay.

Just curious, would you give BitPay a second look?

Obligatory: I'm currently using MtGox and haven't really had the time to try BitPay, but the MtGox legal issues could be a reason to need a second option.

Yes I would, I'd probably jump back to them. I've just not had time to sit down this year!

Coinbase! I'm not with YCombinator, who is invested in Coinbase, but I checked out Coinbases API and they KEY WORDING: as a merchant accepting it, you're not subjected to the volatility of Bitcoin's exchange rate, if your batch at the end of the day is $1k you can expect that.

I'd personally go with Coinbase (we're going to add it shortly), since they have probably the best API.

All of the Bitcoin options suffer from a long delay between "oh, I want to use your product/service" and "can pay", if your user doesn't already have bitcoin. As long as 5 days.

What I'd recommend, if you're selling a service, is to do a 15-30 day trial AND take Bitcoin (or give someone free initial service IFF they pay with bitcoin, if you don't do demo anyway), to give them a chance to get started immediately. Unless you're shipping a physical product, losing 5 days of service if someone's bitcoin payment doesn't happen isn't a big deal, usually.

I've heard good things about https://bitpay.com

Let me guess, google wallet will require g+?

"The concept is simple: Google Wallet is an app, rather than just a website or an integration via MasterCard’s PayPass. It’s an actual payment app that lives on Android devices. Users can sign in using their Google+ username and account, and then pay for online purchases directly via the app."



Hi _Lemon_

I work at GoCardless. I would love to hear your feedback about ways that you think we could improve our fraud protection!

Feel free to reply here, or give me an email (kit AT gocardless DOT com), or to call me on 020 7183 8674.

Although Google Checkouts is shutting down, Google Wallet for Digital Goods still lives on (https://support.google.com/checkout/sell/answer/3080449). It offers pretty much the best pricing on the net (most favorable of 5% or 1.9% + 30c (USD) per transaction is automatically applied.) and works in way more countries and currencies than Google Checkout ever did (https://developers.google.com/commerce/wallet/digital/faq).

I feel like no one actually read the submission. Google Checkout and Google Wallet overlapped too much, and Wallet won out. If your website uses Checkout, just replace it with Wallet, and move on with your life.

Wallet doesn't have payment processing except for items on Google Play.

I don't trust Google any longer. Google (usually) brings out fantastic products only to neglect and abandon them like a bored toddler.

This wave of product discontinuations is making me extremely hesitant to use anything new Google brings out. If Google brought out Gmail today I'd sign up and explore what it's about, but I wouldn't ever give out the email address for fear that it would be snatched back with no or little notice.

I'm not going to pretend to know Google's business better than they do, but to me it appears as though they're really dropping the ball here and losing a lot of credibility and trust.

I wonder how we would have reacted if rather than spacing all these out, they batched them up an did one big announcement with plans for all lines being discontinued. Quick and clean sort of deal.

My trust has been eroded in Google to the point where I am actively seeking a replacement to Google Apps (I have a free account which I can't imagine will be around forever).

Also, now with tumblr being bought I'm hesitant to jump ship and host my blog on my own server. Seems like the way forward.

Anyone have any idea if this effectively terminates any existing recurring Google Checkout subscription payments (on November 20)? If so, that's kind of a big deal. Cutting off merchants from their revenue stream is a great way to get people really angry and could easily destroy a business.

My understanding is that merchants would need to ask their users to re-subscribe through different payment provider. It seems very unlikely that Google Checkout would allow any way of importing users' credit card information.

After such treatment I'm very unlikely to use any future Google's payment systems (such as Google Wallet).



The ability to process recurring charges or subscriptions using the subscription beta feature will be shut down on November 20th.


Wow, so it _is_ true, that's the confirmation I was looking for. Really hard to believe. I knew if they did shut them off they would point to the fact it's still "beta". The subscription feature has been labeled beta since it was released in March 2009. This is sick.

I was confused about that "beta" part, because I didn't know that Google Checkout Subscriptions was still in beta. Now it all comes together.

It looks like Google is exercising in Doublespeak. I received email from Google Checkout today. After skimming headers I could not understand what they wanted to say.

How do you like email's subject: "An update to Google Checkout"

"An update"!

Thanks to Hacker News it's getting all clear now.

Anyway here's full email:


[Google Wallet]

Safe & Secure

An update to Google Checkout


A key focus of Google Wallet is to simplify and improve the commerce experience for merchants and shoppers. Just last week, we announced two enhancements to the Google Wallet platform. The Instant Buy API enables merchants to offer a fast buying experience to Google Wallet shoppers on their Android apps and websites, while processing their own payments. In addition, the new Wallet Objects API enables merchants to engage their customers with loyalty, offers, and more.

As we continue to build the Wallet platform, we must focus our priorities. That is why we are announcing today that we will retire Google Checkout. We remain heavily invested in building a platform that enables merchants to meet the demands of a multi-screen world where consumers shop in-store, at their desk and on their mobile devices.

I sell goods or services using Google Checkout. What does this mean for me?

Merchants can continue to accept payments using Google Checkout until November 20, 2013. We have partnered with a few best-in-class companies to provide you with discounted migration options, so you can continue to run your business with as little disruption as possible.

[Braintree] provides everything merchants need to accept payments, and powers many of the fastest-growing online and mobile businesses around the world.

[Shopify] offers a fully hosted online shopping cart so you can quickly and easily accept payments with top payment providers.

[FreshBooks] is an easy to use online invoicing solution.

If you are a U.S. merchant that does have payment processing, you can apply for Google Wallet Instant Buy, which offers a fast buying experience to Google Wallet shoppers.

I am an Google Play Apps or digital goods merchant. What does this mean for me?

Sellers of digital goods on Google (Google Play, Chrome Web Store, Offers Marketplace and Google Wallet for digital goods) will automatically transition to Google Wallet and will not be impacted. Learn more »

If you are a user of the above products, but use the Google Checkout APIs for notifications or reporting, stay tuned. We will be announcing replacement APIs shortly and recommend you stop using the Checkout APIs as soon as possible.

Learn more about integration types, the best migration solution for your business and next steps on closing your Checkout account. What this means for shoppers There are no changes. Shoppers can continue to use Google Wallet to purchase goods wherever they see the "Buy with Google" button.

More details

• We will continue to process Checkout transactions until November 20, 2013. The last date for refunds will be December 20, 2013.

• After November 20, 2013, all order reports and history will be available for download.

• In order to help us disburse all funds to you and file your tax forms properly, please verify that your Tax ID and business name match what is shown on your income tax return.

• You will see slight changes to the Merchant Center as we go through this process with you.

More help

To learn more about this change, we invite you to join us for our live webinar on May 23, 2013, at 10AM PST. As always, feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to working with you as we explore new payment methods.

Sincerely, The Google Checkout Team

Google Wallet | Help Center | Call support © 2013 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Checkout account.


Did you read the post?

> If you don't have your own payment processing, you will need to transition to a different solution within six months. To make things easier, we've partnered with Braintree, Shopify and Freshbooks to offer you discounted migration options.

So you have 6 months and several options for migration.

That sentence is confusing at best. "If you don't have your own payment processing" What does that mean? I thought Google Checkout was my payment processor? Do they mean if you already have a payment processor other than Google?

And if I _do_ have my own payment processing then I won't need to "transition to a different solution within six months". What does that mean, are they going to give me all the subscribers credit card info so I can start charging their cards myself? I don't think so.

As far as I know Braintree only does direct credit card processing, similar to Stripe. If they are planning on migrating all the Google Checkout subscriptions to Braintree credit card subscriptions that would be great but it doesn't sound like that to me. And how would that work for the Google Checkout users who were able to manage their subscriptions through the Google Checkout interface? Does Braintree have an interface for all Google Checkout users or do they lose their interface and need to go through the merchant now?

Braintree certainly does recurring billing and it's pretty common in these scenarios for the migration to happen between vendors.


Braintree even helped start http://www.portabilitystandard.org/ to help standardize the migration process.

That said, Google Checkout didn't do much in the way of recurring billing. The FAQ says it never made it out of beta. The vast majority of merchants appeared to just be selling the old fashioned way.


"That said, Google Checkout didn't do much in the way of recurring billing."

Your comment helps all those who depend on Google Checkout subscriptions.

No, Google's migration policy will. I was just noting that the vast majority did not depend on Checkout subscriptions (it never even got out of beta).

This is a real shame. My business was one of the very first to integrate Google Checkout into a website shopping cart after the general release. I did a marathon coding session the first week it came out because I knew that it would be worth some free publicity if I got it working.

All of our payments come through either Google Checkout or PayPal. And some people really hate PayPal, so we will be looking for alternatives (Amazon Payments springs to mind).

I could see the writing on the wall for Google Checkout a couple years back, though. They failed to add any new features in recent times in order to try to match PayPal. The reporting was weak. E-mail notifications didn't always work right. Declined charges were a hassle. E-mail payment requests couldn't be formatted and were too short. Those were my main complaints, I'm sure there were many more problems faced by people who had different requirements.

Checkout had huge potential to integrate into Google's other services. For example, it let Google see directly who the best and most reliable merchants were. In fact, I believe you can still have Adwords show stars on your text ad based upon Checkout customer feedback.

Another useful integration is with Analytics. They did attempt some information sharing there. Tying Analytics directly to sales information is fantastic, and I wish they had made them work together better.

It's a real shame that Google Checkout never really was what was promised, we've integrated it into our shop and we have more GoCardless payments than Google Checkout, it was a horrible system to deal with and I won't miss it when it goes (and if I ever get a response about the Stripe UK beta I'll be swapping that quick sharpish)

We've had more declined transactions on Google Checkout than PayPal + GoCardless put together.

(I work at Stripe.)

Sorry you haven't gotten one yet! I just sent an invite your way.

Thanks, We are planning a visual refresh of the site and Stripe will certainly be part of the new offering :)

Using Google checkout reduced my conversion rates but I still stuck to them cause they Paid on time and are very much less troublesome than paypal (especially for high volume merchants)

I'm definitely switching to stripe when it comes to the UK.

Is this for e-commerce? I just suspected you guys didn't seriously consider e-commerce since you don't do pre-auth and settlement. It being illegal to charge the customer before shipping in some countries and such.

This is a very recent change, if I am not mistaken. Seven days is a very short window.

Have you tried Braintree in the UK?

Unfortunately, I think Braintree in the UK is probably doomed at this point.

They looked good a year or two ago, and we did consider using them. They were certainly a better prospect than old school card payments where you had to apply for multiple services, make back room deals to get good fees, and all that nonsense. However, to start the application process with Braintree, it seemed you would still be faced with a lot of form-filling, followed by multi-week delays to get approval (or not), and on top of that the fees were unclear but didn't look competitive in most cases.

More recently, the likes of GoCardless and Stripe have become serious players on the UK scene, and both seem to be working on expansions further into Europe as well. They have all the same obvious benefits that Braintree offered: a single company to deal with, staffed by human beings rather than robots, reasonable APIs. But they also offer much faster sign-up and reasonable, transparent fees.

At this point, to be brutally honest, the likes of Braintree are simply outclassed. Unless anything very surprising happens, I expect the payments market for UK and probably European small businesses and start-ups to be completely dominated by GoCardless and Stripe within 2-3 years. Unless you're big enough to approach the old school players with enough leverage to get favourable terms, it's hard to see why you'd look any further if these are options, and I think both GoCardless and Stripe will do well because they're different enough not to be in direct competition but similar enough to keep each other honest.

I looked at Braintree but I found the fee's not worth it at this stage, I've looked at NoChex and a few other providers but there is a worry about giving people too much choice, at moment we have PayPal, Google Checkout and GoCardless, I'd be looking to replace GC with either Stripe or NoChex

Retiring a payment system is really the ultimate insult to those that invest in your platforms.

Imagine the bank that you use for your business transactions, especially recurring billing, to one day walk in and say: so sorry, you won't be able to process your old payments any more, but here is a new and shiny service that we think is better that you'll have to use from now on.

Never mind the integration overhead, possible loss of business, customer service issues and all the other headaches that can come from a thing like this.

I'm scared just to change bank accounts given how far those bits of information have propagated, losing a billing platform is a nightmare for businesses that rely on it.

Why would anyone switch to another service by the same provider that just chose to shut you down or that chose to saddle you up with a bunch of overhead on this years calendar?

Google partnering with braintree, shopify and freshbooks is the saving grace here.

In payment systems only two things matter: fraud control and continuity. Google excels at the first, drops the ball on the second.

I am surprised that they will no longer offer processing. The whole reason I even used them was to prevent the need to deal with a payment processor (my current store options for customers are google and paypal).

I checked out amazon's offer again and will likely add them as a replacement. They have a lot of existing customers, the charge is reasonable, and I will be able to integrate it in a fairly painless manner.

I'm a bit uninformed about the capabilities of Google Wallet and Checkout. Anyone care to elucidate the differences? Do they perform the same functions?

I think the problem was Google's Api was very ill written compared to Paypal's. This may be an old implementation, but I think the Api didn't allow subscription services easily, and also notified it's sellers of an order immediately (regardless if the transaction was successful or not).

Beside, I think Google is investing the proper resources in building Waller to be a formidable product against Paypal, Amazon, and other 3rd Party checkouts.

Side Note: For the Google Checkout devs that read this, I'm sorry for what I did (Michael Largent).

Shoddy API's are not unique to Checkout. Most, if not all, of Google's API's are actually pretty terrible. When they DO update their API's it's pretty rare that they tell anyone, and they never update their documentation. So, a workflow that worked fine last week will suddenly fail disgracefully and you'll have no idea unless you find the right version of the docs.

maps has a great API.

I figured this was going to happen when they announced Wallet, :/. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5714531

This is the real story. They're not shutting down at all, they're pivoting their focus within payments to mobile/physical presence. Getting rid of 'card not present' situations means cheaper and more reliable processing, and the physical focus that goes with mobile payments gives additional reasons for Android users to leave their credit card details with Google. Google's fastest growth right now must be in Android-driven Google account signups. I can see why they're focusing on that area, rather than some old, first financial world only, pre-monopolized, credit card not present delayed payments reverse charges web based fraud rule quagmire.

Good spot

Good thing I'm not using Google Checkout anymore. It's still a shame though. I actually like it more than Paypal but having done some experiments with my ecommerce businesses (e.g. http://www.wellingtonstravel.com/) I found people trust the Paypal payment option more or are more familiar with it, leading to more conversions. So that's why I went with Paypal over Google Checkout.

Ugh, this is terrible. The one service I actually used with Google, and they shut it down. In their defense, its been dead for a while, they made the UI horrifying to use and a giant PITA. Glad I got my one last payment in.

Time to move to stripe.

Looks like Google partnered(?) with Braintree, Shopify and Freshbooks-- like you can get a discount for transitioning. Considering how many people mention just moving to Stripe on this thread, I wonder what sort of hoops those three had to jump through to get their names on the page. Also I wonder what part of the process led Google to choose those three over their competitors.

It seems like Stripe would have been a natural choice. Anyone know anything about the vetting process and want to comment? It would be interesting if there was a hangup or concern that led to the decision.

Stripe is only available in North America, and probably lacks the headcount to handle thousands or more new merchants in a short time. Braintree's more than twice as old, more than twice as big, and operates in US/UK/AU/CA/EU. Recommending Stripe would mean sending many of Google Checkout's merchants somewhere that can't help them. Google Checkout, like many third-party processors, is heavily used by merchants outside the US where a traditional merchant account is much more difficult to acquire and integrate.

Google Checkout was US/UK only.

Wait, so what's the difference between this and Google Wallet?

> Wait, so what's the difference between this and Google Wallet?

With Checkout, Google is a credit card processor.

With Wallet, Google isn't a credit card processor, they are partnered with Bankcorp Bank who is issuing virtual cards which are funded either by transferring funds from the users bank account or by charging credit cards.

This was a system that let online shops take payments. Confusingly, at one point they renamed the service to "Google Wallet".

This is bizarre considering that the Gmail money thing just launched so Google is remaining in the payment processing business (different from Play in that Checkout and Google Gmail Money are much more accessible to recipients).

> This is bizarre considering that the Gmail money thing just launched so Google is remaining in the payment processing business

The "Gmail money" thing is a Google Wallet feature, as Google Wallet doesn't include credit card processing on the merchant side, I suspect that for things where Google is, effectively, the "merchant" (like sending money through Gmail), they are paying a third party for processing services.

Uh... calling it a "shutdown" isn't all that close to the truth. They're transitioning from Checkout to Wallet.

It may be a transition for Checkout users, but it's a shutdown for merchants.

* Shutting down payment processing which was a pretty fundamental part of the offering

* they're requiring you to reapply to get an instant buy account

* They're killing off the APIs

It's not a transition if you lose a core feature, don't transition the accounts in any meaningful way, and have to implement a new system - at that point it's about like switching to PayPal (except you get to keep payment processing if you switch).

"Google" + "Shutdown" = instant successful headline

anyone taking bets... ehm willing to speculate on what big is next dying at google? I'm thinking about google tv, or is that Q already gone? music? books? I'm happy to see G staying on the marketing garden

http://www.gwern.net/Google%20shutdowns may be of interest to you.

I think Google is just refining their products, which I think is great thing for them. I think I got an email about G+ being integrated into ALL of Google's products...but who didn't see that coming.

I'm going with FeedBurner. Although you could argue it's already 90% dead.

We're betting the same, and have put our money where our mouth is: http://feedsnap.com/

Go bold. Love it.

looks great, nice work

It definitely feels neglected. What do you think is a good alternative?

Doing it yourself. I'm not convinced if even Google is willing to pay $100m for a service then let it crumble that there's much in the business model for anyone else to maintain long term.

The Q is pretty much dead at this point, the new Play Music update no longer allows you to stream to it. Google TV just got an update to 4.2.2, and I think it will be updated for the time being.

Google Books is another thing that they seem to have gotten in just because they were big, and then didn't do much else. They've barely moved the needle with that service. They seem a lot more serious about music and video. I still hope they will take books more seriously soon. It's like they are not even on the map for most people right now in books.

I won't buy any books from them until they do DRM free epubs that I can download. (The same applies to all vendors.) They do get this right with their music.

FWIW, they now let you upload your own epub and PDF files (up to 1,000 items), as of last week. If you enjoy Books as a distribution platform and reader for your devices, but want to buy your books elsewhere.

I've already uploaded my collection. Unfortunately they also have a 50MB limit which excludes several of the books from the Humble Bundle eBook collection.

Not sure if this would work, but it offers to let you "upload" from an existing Google Drive folder. I wonder what would happen if you added the >50MB file to google drive, and then selected it from its Drive location in the books uploader UI.

The largest files I have to test area 40MB PDF and 35MB Epub, which worked. I tried a 100MB iso renamed to pdf, but it seemed to detect the right mime type and excluded it

I think the next thing Google will kill is its search engine... :)

If and when they have plans to do so, I hope to have it posted here: http://jensenbox.github.io/timeline/

At some point I thought the master plan behind Google Checkout was to tie the adword payments to actual purchases behavior. So instead of paying per click an advertisers could have paid "per purchase".

With enough sites on board Google would probably have been in quite good position in trying to figure out if the user is really going to make the purchase or not. If user is likely to purchase, then show him "pay per purchase" ads otherwise just regular "pay per click".

If you are interested, I have been keeping score: http://jensenbox.github.io/timeline/

Could this mean that could expand the number of countries that were supported by checkout?

I really hope so, not being able to sell in the Play Store/Chrome Web Store is something we've been looking for a while.

This title is inaccurate. Google Checkout is being upgraded to Google Wallet, which provides the _exact_ same functionality with more features.

No, they are getting rid of the payment processing.

Google merged Checkout with Wallet over a year ago. That was unpleasant, but bearable. This time Google is killing what's left of Google Checkout: API and subsriptions. That's much worse.

To add an insult to injury, Google uses Doublespeak, so now we have to guess about what's really going to happen.

I wonder if anyone besides Braintree will step in with a copy of Google's APIs and try to win some easy business?

I reason google shoud bring labs from the dea, and use it to test the waters with products like this.

Amazon is still a viable alternative to PayPal.

I used it to buy the latest Humble Bundle.

I just hope they don't toss Scholar. That thing is salvation.

The post says they are transitioning over to Wallet in the very first sentence. It's amazing how many people are commenting without even getting that far into the link.

does anyone have any idea what happens to the google drive subscription, if you're paying via google checkout?

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