Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is consolidating payment platforms, merging its long-time Google Checkout service with its Google Wallet mobile payment service, the company said Nov. 16.
Launched September in New York and San Francisco, Google Wallet is the company's effort to coax users to pay for goods from Android smartphones at more than 20 retailers, including Macy's, Toys R Us and American Eagle. Consumers with Sprint Samsung Nexus S 4G phones can pay for goods in those stores by tapping and paying against sales terminals.
Google Checkout was launched in 2006 as an alternative to eBay's PayPal service, but it never quite took off the way Google originally intended. Checkout users store their credit or debit card and shipping information in their Google Account so they can purchase items at participating stores by clicking a button online.
Wallet will continue to enable users to make purchases in stores from their mobile phones, and add the ability to buy goods from their home computers. Wallet will also become the payment method for applications in Google's Android Market, movies on YouTube, titles residing on Google+ Games, among other Google sites.
Going forward, when users shop at stores that accept Google Wallet or Google Checkout, consumers may simply use their Google Wallet username and password to complete your purchase. Moreover, users who add a Citi MasterCard account to the Google Wallet mobile app will be able to use that account online from their computers.
Existing Checkout users can automatically shuttle their account to Google Wallet the next time they sign in or make a purchase online. Users will be able to access their consolidated Checkout and Wallet payment transaction history here. See Google's help site for more information.
Google said it will work closely with its merchant partners to switch to the Google Wallet logo next year.
Concurrent with the Checkout migration news, Google also said it was improving Wallet's integration options for retailers. Optimized for the mobile Web, the solution is designed to help Android, iPhone or BlackBerry phone users buy goods from merchants using Wallet without filling out multiple forms.
See Google's example of the mobile Web app for movie ticket site Fandango, according to this example. The improved service is also available for Fandango rival MovieTickets.com.
Ultimately, what these announcements underscore is Google's drive to make Wallet its central payment experience regardless of whether consumers are shopping from their desktop computers, mobile phones or tablet computers.
As Google broadens its reach further into e-commerce services, the integrated Wallet will help the company compete with PayPal, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).