Google Checkout

A trip to Google's UK headquarters in Victoria proved pleasantly surprising

A touch of cynicism accompanied Startups editorial on its journey to Google’s London HQ. We’d been told that we’d be shown all the great ways the billion dollar company was helping small businesses right here in the UK. Forgive us for being a bit sceptical, but that’s the line we’re often given here in the Startups office. Every printer, scanner and web hosting company in the land is out to convince us they can single-handedly transform your part-time e-commerce hobby into a multi-million pound success story.

What we didn’t expect however, was to arrive back in the office complete Googlites. It had nothing to do with the goody bag they sent us home with, we assure you – although Google branded jelly sweets did help.

At the end of the day we was just genuinely impressed with some of the products they’ve introduced for small businesses. There are more than a few e-commerce business-owners out there ready to bemoan the struggles of trying to gain merchant account status for their site.

With no trading history, you’re often left with the PayPal route, but Google Checkout is currently proving to be quite an attractive alternative. With no payment processing fees until next year, it’s definitely the cheaper option at the moment. If you’re considering spending a bit of money on the search engine’s pay-per-click advertising, you’ll also be pleased to hear they’ll give you your advertising spend free in Checkout processing fees when they do start charging.

So, it’s a good start from those guys at Google HQ. Staff gaming room (complete with pool table and Nintendo Wii console) aside, they do seem to be working quite hard to tap into the small business market – and contrary to popular assumptions, most of them do still sit at a traditional desk. We did see the odd beanbag scattered around the building though.

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