Google is merging its Checkout and Wallet electronic payment services to consolidate them into a single product that works both on Web browsers and mobile devices.
The company is also in the process of making Wallet the payment tool on Android Market, YouTube, Google+ Games and other Google sites where e-commerce transactions occur.
Checkout was launched several years ago as an online payment platform, designed primarily to work on conventional web browsers, while Wallet made its debut in September of this year as a payment application for mobile phones.
Shoppers should use their Wallet account credentials on sites that also accept Checkout, while people who only have a Checkout account will be able to transfer their account to Wallet the next time they log into the service, Google said in a blog post.
The integration between Wallet and Checkout will be transparent to merchants, the company said.
"Early next year, we will work closely with our merchant partners to switch to the Google Wallet logo and share details on new and upcoming features," wrote Ben Lee, Google Wallet product manager, in the blog post.
The start of this transition comes at a critical time for both merchants and shoppers -- right at the beginning of the very busy holiday season.
Thus, it will be interesting to see if these changes improve the user experience for Wallet and Checkout shoppers and merchants or whether it creates confusion.
Google has posted an FAQ page about the transition plan, where it addresses a number of issues in more detail than in the blog post.
Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.
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