Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has decided to fold Google Checkout into its newly launched Google Wallet, in what fits right in with the pare-down-and-focus strategy set by CEO Larry Page in the months since he returned to the leadership chair. Users will need to acknowledge the transfer the next time they make a purchase, but Google said merchants won’t have to do a thing.
Google Checkout never really caught on as an online payment system, at least enough to make a dent in PayPal’s business. Customer-service issues didn’t help, but with the launch of Google Wallet earlier this year as a big part of Google’s mobile-payments strategy, the company has an opportunity to start afresh with consumers and merchants.
This will probably have the biggest impact on Android, where users will eventually be prompted to switch their accounts to Google Wallet then they try to download a paid application from the Android Market. Google Checkout was used as the payment system for nearly everything for which Google charged money (like YouTube movie rentals), but Android Nexus S customers who are trying out Google’s mobile-payments system had to use Google Wallet for in-store transactions and Google Checkout for app downloads. Those will now merge.
Merchants will transition a little more slowly, but Google Wallet users will be able to buy stuff from sites that still use Google Checkout and have Google Checkout logos on their sites, Google said in a blog post.
Google also announced that it is launching a mobile-Web version of Google Wallet for merchants to use on their mobile sites, starting with Fandango and MovieTickets.com.