Thursday, January 12, 2006

I love the smoke and mirrors that Google manages to pull off every time. Remember Google Purchases? Remember when everyone was drooling about the possibilities, passing along secretly acquired screen shots? Well, Google recently released the feature but nobody was paying attention. Instead, they were paying more attention to the fact that the Google Video Store was released. Why is nobody interested in Google Purchases anymore? Because Google told everyone that it wasn't a PayPal killer. It was only a way for customers to pay Google, they said. No worries, PayPal. No worries.

Take a look at the Google Purchases Terms of Service page. "The Service facilitates the processing of Payment Transactions to complete a payment for a purchase between a Buyer and a Seller." Also, "GPC shall not be responsible for, and does not control, the quality, safety or legality of the Products advertised, the truth or accuracy of the description of the Products, the ability of Buyers to buy Products, or the ability of Sellers to deliver Products. GPC shall not be responsible for, and does not control, whether or not a Seller will complete the sale of Products to Buyer." Gosh. Sounds much closer to a PayPal system every day, doesn't it? A PayPal system specifically between buyers and sellers.

Google also said that Google Base wasn't an eBay killer. Sure, maybe they won't institute a bidding system. However, if they allow individuals to post products and services for free via Google Base, then later allow individuals to make transactions via Google Purchases, this is everything that eBay/PayPal is, minus the bidding system. "But, eBay is ONLY a bidding system," you say? Have you not seen the "Buy It Now" feature? This will all directly compete with eBay's "Buy It Now" feature, with Yahoo Stores, and so on and so forth.

So, while the media is complaining that Google Video only has 5 episodes of MacGyver for sale, they managed to slip another service right beneath everyone's noses. Pretty soon, Google Calendar will seem like just a minor Gmail service update. I suppose, then, that Internet Explorer was just a "patch" in Windows systems when it was first released.

Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining. Not one bit. I think that Google is kick-starting the world of technology into the marketplace is was always meant to be. This is a wonderful thing, and a long time coming. I just find it funny that for all of those avid Google Watchers out there, Google still has more tricks up their sleeves. Maybe the next trick will be to get people to install an auto-updater for third-party applications from Microsoft competitors. They will disguise this as a bundle of useful software. It will be called, innocently, Google Pack. Ah, yes, Google. Keep those hands in the finger pyramid of clever contemplation.

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