Executive: Google Checkout solves new problem

Google executives said that Google Checkout isn't meant to compete with PayPal.

Google Checkout isn't a PayPal killer, the executive who spearheaded the development of the service said on the day of its launch.

"It's different then the terrific service from PayPal," said Douglas Merrill, Google's vice president of engineering. "We're solving a different problem." Merrill spoke in Dublin on Thursday where he was visiting Google's European headquarters on the final day of the company's first European code jam contest.

Google Checkout lets online shoppers store credit card and other purchasing details online with Google so that they don't have to re-enter the information repeatedly on each site they use to make purchases.

By contrast, PayPal is more like a bank, noted Urs Holzle, senior vice president of operations at Google, also speaking during a visit to Dublin.

He said that Google doesn't seek out existing services from other companies and then try to duplicate them in an effort to win market share. "We look where we can do better. We weren't the first search engine either," he said.

Buying behavior information about Google Checkout users won't be shared with other aspects of Google's business, Merrill said. For instance, if a Google Checkout user buys a bicycle online, Google won't share that information with advertisers that might be interested in targeting that user with advertisements for bike accessories.

Holzle also said that Google spends a lot of effort considering privacy issues to ensure that the company is clear about how it uses customer information and that the information is stored securely.

Google regularly holds code jam contests, during which programmers compete to solve programming problems, as a way to identify talent. On Thursday, the final 55 contestants of the European code jam were competing in Dublin and the winner is expected to be announced later in the day.

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