Is Google Ready to Crush PayPal?
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) really wants to get things going with new payment methods, and it seems to be leveraging just about every platform available to it, from the web to mobile devices and everything between.
The company put a lot of focus on functioning well on the Internet, specifically in web browsers. A new system was developed that will allow users to store their billing information in the Chrome browser, making it quick and easy to fill in all the information necessary to make a purchase over the Internet when using that browser.
Google found this simplification considerably important, as a staggering number of online shopping carts are abandoned when customers don’t feel like going through the hassle of filling out all the forms necessary to buy something online. Google said that as much as 97 percent of shopping carts on mobile devices are abandoned. A study of the fourth quarter in 2012 showed 82 percent of carts were abandoned globally. Given Chrome’s more than 750 million monthly active users, the new service could change online shopping for a great many people.
The search giant also wanted to ease the process of using Google Wallet. It has developed a way for the shopping website to integrate a simple button that users can click to use their Google Wallet information to make a purchase. This could work in Chrome as well as other browsers. One problem with these first two techniques is that they require the participation of vendors to include the capability in their websites.
If leveraging the Internet wasn’t enough, Google will also be leveraging the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Android, which Google itself made. The company has developed a 2-click process for checkout on Android devices that could significantly change that 97 percent statistic.
Google’s also updating the types of attachments people can include in Gmail. Yes, people can now attach money to their emails. This system will use Google Wallet as well, and could quickly find a massive user base, as Gmail has over 425 million users. It’s available on the desktop version of Gmail already, and is surely coming to mobile soon.
All of these efforts on Google’s part seem targeted at rooting out eBay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) PayPal services. With Google leveraging its Chrome, Gmail, and Android user bases, it could have over 1 billion users ready to make its online payment methods just short of omnipresent. However, PayPal still has an edge, and it’s a very solid, physical edge. PayPal has been working on ramping up point-of-sale systems that allow customers shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to make purchases using their PayPal accounts.
Google has tried to get into the point-of-sale game, but the Near Field Communication technology that has been employed in many Android smartphones hasn’t been installed in a lot of other places — namely retailers and in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones.
Given the popularity of the iPhone, many retailers have been hesitant to get on board with NFC technology if Apple wouldn’t as well. Rumors have been floating around that the next iPhone could incorporate the technology, but it’s just rumored. While Google may be able to put up a strong fight against PayPal as its new services take off the ground, it may have trouble ever defeating it if customers can’t make purchases with Google Wallet both in and out of stores.
Here’s how Apple and Google finished trading on Thursday:
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