Internet search engine giant Google has unveiled an online payment service that brings it into direct competition with similar system PayPal, which has long dominated the market.
Google Checkout differs from PayPal, which is owned and operated by internet auction firm eBay, in that it only accepts credit cards and is initially only available in the US, but the Google service includes benefits for retailers already signed up to advertise on its site.
The search engine firm launched AdWords, an advertising programme that allows fee-paying merchants to receive targeted website traffic, earlier this year and the two services are entirely compatible, with retailers receiving a $10 dollar discount on processing orders for each dollar spent on adverts.
Salar Kamangar, vice president of product management at Google, said: "By integrating the checkout process with search and advertising, we're helping our users complete the cycle of searching, finding and buying."
He claimed that the Google service was unique as it revolved around a single login account and also improved security by concealing credit card numbers and reimbursing unauthorised purchases
"In the offline world, shoppers don't tolerate long lines and tedious data entry just to buy something. They shouldn't have to in the online world either. Google Checkout simplifies and improves the online purchase experience for both consumers and merchants," Mr Kamangar added.
Despite the fact that retailers can use both Google Checkout and PayPal together, eBay's share price fell as a result of today's product launch.