Many people use the Internet to shop. One of the drawbacks of online shopping involves transmitting your personal information over the Internet. If you want to purchase items at different Web sites, you have to enter all your information multiple times. Google saw the opportunity to create a tool that would allow merchants and users to take advantage of a universal checkout system.
Here's how it works: first you create a Google account. If you already have a Google account, you'll need to enhance it by providing a credit card number, billing address, shipping address and a phone number. Once you complete this step, you can go shopping.
All you have to do is log in to your Google account and look for Web sites that subscribe to Google Checkout. When you see the checkout symbol listed next to an entry on a search results page, you know that you can purchase items from that site using your Google account. You'll be prompted to provide your Google Checkout password, but you won't have to enter your credit card number or personal information again. You make your selections and Google handles the rest of the transaction. The merchant never even sees your credit card number.
Google Checkout is free for consumers. Merchants must pay 2 percent plus 20 cents per sales transaction. But Google gives a discount to merchants who use Google AdWords. For every dollar a merchant spends in AdWords advertising per month, Google will process $10 of sales without charge [source: Google Checkout].
Google also offers products designed to help you organize your life. Find out more about Google Calendar in the next section.