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.
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.
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.
Paypal still wants my business.
He means you're an outlier, checkout wasn't going anywhere and nobody used it, and it wasn't even international (as PayPal is).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Checkout was used by merchants that sell physical goods. So the digital goods api is irrelevant.
As you say, Google's implementation was flawed from start. Doesn't it make sense then to fix it and make things right?
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.
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".
wallet fits your value prop.. that came 5 years later
edit: IOW I agree with you.
Google Wallet looks like a big improvement over their old system.
Google Wallet looks like a big improvement over their old system.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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...
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.
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.
IMHO The only reason Dropbox is successful because the alternatives e.g. SkyDrive, Google Drive are so much worse.
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.
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.
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.
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...
 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
>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.
I also thought Dropbox's Android client was better.
> 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.
I think I'm going to start looking into my email setup, just in case.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
Thanks to Hacker News it's getting all clear now.
Anyway here's full email:
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.
provides everything merchants need to accept payments, and powers many of the fastest-growing online and mobile businesses around the world.
offers a fully hosted online shopping cart so you can quickly and easily accept payments with top payment providers.
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.
• 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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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 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.
Your comment helps all those who depend on Google Checkout subscriptions.
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.
We've had more declined transactions on Google Checkout than PayPal + GoCardless put together.
Sorry you haven't gotten one yet! I just sent an invite your way.
I'm definitely switching to stripe when it comes to the UK.
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.
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 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.
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).
Time to move to stripe.
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.
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.
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.
* 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).
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
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".
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.
To add an insult to injury, Google uses Doublespeak, so now we have to guess about what's really going to happen.
I used it to buy the latest Humble Bundle.