GBuy is here, only it is called Google Checkout and despite the chief doers of no evil claiming that it “isn’t like PayPal at all”, it is, erm, rather like PayPal, in that merchants use it to process consumer payments.

Google Checkout allows consumers to purchase products by simply logging in to Google – no need for credit card numbers or filling out forms. Obviously you need to tell Google to begin with, but thereafter Google will store your credit card and address data…

The idea is that buying products will be faster, easier, and safer… or at least that’s one of the aims. Many users are still concerned about security – the Google brand should provide some reassurance.

Consumers don’t even need to remember log-in details and passwords for online retailers that participate in the Google Checkout scheme. Instead, they simply log in to Google and click the Google Checkout icon that merchants can display on their websites, and within their Google ads.

Google says it is “especially excited about combining Google Checkout with AdWords because it gives our advertisers a more complete solution for attracting customers through Google and processing the sales that result”.

Adwords customers will receive preferential rates too, as is explained on The Register: “An icon for Checkout will appear next to AdWords ads for shops using the system. Merchants will also get a discount – for every $1 they spend on AdWords they can process $10 in sales through Checkout for free.”

So we’re looking at an Adwords driver, if not a PayPal killer (although it remains to be seen how this will perform against the eBay payment processor). And sure, it might also influence the behaviour of online ‘shoppers’ who might otherwise resort to the high street, where their credit cards are ‘safe’.

Do you see how Google is joining things up? I used to think it was reverse-engineering a portal. Now it looks more like a massive virtual shopping mall is being patched together, and one that should drive more ad revenues for Big G.

It will be interesting to watch the adoption among merchants, and to see if Google can make a bigger dent in the credit card market than PayPal has.

The thing to remember is that eBay and Yahoo are snuggling up, having announced a strategic partnership at the end of May, and the combined installed user base of those two companies is huge. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see eBay and Yahoo permanently join forces, and were that to happen there would be nothing to stop Yahoo from pulling off some of the same tricks as Google Checkout, right?

Google is starting from scratch, as it has been doing with many of its non-search product releases. Yet it remains synonymous with ‘search’, not with ‘email’ or ‘maps’, and maybe it won’t bag ‘payments’ either. But people who use Google’s products tend to be converted by the user experience, which normally surpasses the standards set by competitors.

Google Checkout could turn Google into an online commerce heavyweight, rather than a search / advertising leviathan.  We feel that this one is a big, bold move for Big G.