Google Checkout has been one of those stealthy projects, seemingly in permanent beta. But we've always known it could be a potential force -- and competitor to Paypal -- as it gets connected with more of the matching and mating that Google Search does.
Lately, I've been noticed the Google Checkout logo popping up in the right-hand column paid search results. It says to the consumer: here's not only an ad, but you can easily buy here, through your new friend Google Checkout. Potentially, a huge competitive advantage to advertisers (who may be fourth or eighth in the rankings -- Google is really selling prominence here) and of course to Google, which will take a share of each and every transaction.
Now, on Google, the content world is separate. Search on Archives, left hand nav of any News page. You'll still the first-gen look there. Some archival stories are free. Others run anywhere from $2.95 to $7.95, as publishers and their representatives try to recoup a little of their investment in producing those stories. You can see prices from the New York Times, Lexis Nexis, Proquest, NewsBank, Access My Library and many others. But the action now is this: click through to the publisher or aggregator and use its e-commerce system. Not only does the consumer pay; he or she has to master a new interface, add a credit card, etc., etc., etc. Wouldn't it be easier if Google just offered a Google Checkout option?
Of course, and you know it will. We just don't when. And many content sellers will of course say yes. After hemming and hawing, the volume of traffic and the prominence offered will be irresistible. That's why Google is becoming Syndication Squared. Matchining all content to all advertising and taking a Ma Bell-like cut of it all.