As speculated earlier this week [WAMN: 28-June-06], Google has launched its online payment system to rival eBay's Paypal.
The Mountainview, California-headquartered titan's step beyond pure search is branded Google Checkout. It claims to speed up purchases for consumers and make it easier for advertisers to monitor and complete sales.
A shopping trolley icon next to Google ads will signal that anyone clicking on them can buy a product or service using Checkout.
The system will store users' details securely, including credit card numbers and billing addresses. Users will also be able summarise their orders across a range of merchants and to track deliveries.
In a bid to drum up business, Google is offering lower advertising costs to merchants and charges of only 2% on purchases plus 20 cents per transaction.
It is setting up an Arabic hub in Cairo and estimates 50 million people in the region will be online by 2009.
Google hopes to grow the regional market by offering advertisers an alternative to costly satellite-TV commercials and newspaper ads that currently dominate the pan-Arabic market.
Data sourced from Financial Times Online and Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff