Google has launched a tool designed to enable one-man-band merchants moving from site-to-site to accept payments using its Checkout system and Android mobile phones.
In a blog, the search giant says its Android Payment Chrome Extension "helps merchants quickly set up a store and accept payments via Google Checkout and Android".
Before they can take payments, users need to set up a Checkout Merchant account and then create their own webstore template using the Store Gadget Wizard - a tool that taps Google Docs spreadsheets to help people quickly set up an online 'store'.
The store can then be embedded into a Google Sites page, which also needs to be built using pre-built templates.
Once set up, merchants can add the Android Payment Chrome Extension. They are then able to create a cart on a laptop containing the products a customer wants to buy. They then click the green Checkout with Android button and have the customer scan the QR code displayed with their phone. The QR code directs the customer to the buy page where they can complete their purchase.
Google admits the option has limited appeal, saying "this payment method may not be perfect for all cases".
Finextra verdict: With its idiot-proof templates and spreadsheets, Google seems to be doing a decent job of democratising e-commerce - making it accessible for all retailers, no matter how small or technophobic. However, is it really necessary to set up an online store to accept a payment from a customer standing in front of you, and then make them mess around with a phone and QR codes and only then "complete their purchase"? All seems a bit convoluted and surely there are more practical options for the on-the-go merchant - the (admittedly not perfect) Square or, even, think the unthinkable, cash.