I have a prediction for Google’s soon-to-be-released service GBuy that I haven’t read anywhere else. I think they may incidentally take out PayPal, but it will only be a pleasant (for them) side-effect of thier real goal. I just don’t think that goal is big enough for Google.
They want the holy grail.
They want to monetise the internet, and they surely want to remove their deadly over-reliance on ads. Solution? Micro-payments. That’s right, micropayments. I know, they have been tried several times and they’ve always died a miserable death. But, no one with the clout, public goodwill, and intelligence of Google has tried. Imagine, if customers could manage their subscription settings via Google:
- Customers could put a maximum pay-per-page or pay-per-session for a site, and then when they hit those sites, there would be no barriers, logins, or subscription requests. Google would just hit their credit card or bank accounts for them, and forward the money to the site.
- Google could feature sites which have GBuy enabled by some icon on the search listings.
- Sites would be able to be “all content”, and no longer have to serve ads, or optionally no longer have to serve ads – for the paying visitors.
- Google could also enable pay-for-feed, which is something no one is really trying yet.
Steps to a goal
I don’t believe they will just roll out what I describe in phase one. What I think will happen is that they’ll undercut PayPal’s fees, getting a lot of instant webmaster users. People will sign up for GBuy, and Google will move that money around for them, taking a small cut, possibly even deliberately taking a small loss to fuel uptake. When a certain critical mass is reached, when enough people have accounts, they’ll release the micropay API/subscription model. They’ve already said they aren’t really interested in the stored-payment model, I think they are aiming higher. Higher probably even than my modest prediction. I don’t have unthinking awe for Google, like so many do, but I sincerely respect and admire their audacity at going after new and bigger markets.