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there's been a lot of buzz around google checkout, especially since some merchants are essentially giving you money to use it.  at the surface, google checkout looks to be like a federated identity/payment service.

sound familiar?  it should.  microsoft tried this with passport (and some would argue mswallet).  so what is different?  well, in true comparison, not much.  i'm not talking about a technical implementation because we have to remove that from the argument...most users don't care about the technical implementation.

what it comes down to for a service like this is trust.  in this case, google has established themselves as a trusted vendor for merchant transactions.  how?  i have no idea.  they have yet to sell anything.  but because they have succeeded on many fronts, it is no surprise that people would have no problem trying out and inevitably using their federated identity/checkout service...especially if they are getting money to do it.

i have no real point here of course.  i'm not going to point out that microsoft tried this before and although it wasn't successful it was the same idea.  i'm not going to talk about how federated identity has been around for a while.  i'm not going to talk about how a concept of a 'single account' might have been a good idea...i might have even nicknamed mine snowstorm or something like that.  nope, no comment here.

bottom line: free money + trusted name == anyone willing to try it.  i'd love to see numbers on their uptake of the checkout.  i looked hard but couldn't find a "beta" notation next to their google checkout logo -- so congrats guys on finally getting a second product out there.

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