Last week, Google released yet another gadget that may win them friends with small business owners. It’s called the Google Checkout store gadget  and it essentially allows you to use Google Checkout and Google Docs to to easily create your own online store in a matter of minutes. What makes the gadget especially interesting is that because it’s tied to a Google Docs spreadsheet, small business owners can keep product inventory without having to use another third-party program like Quickbooks. Something many of us can probably appreciate.
To install the gadget on your site or blog, Google outlines three simple steps .
1. Sign up for a Google Checkout seller account.
Checkout will process your orders and help you attract new leads, convert more sales, and enjoy advanced fraud protection.
2. List the products you want to sell in a Google Docs spreadsheet.
You’ll just need to create a copy of our template spreadsheet, and then replace the sample inventory with your own.
3. Place the Google Checkout store gadget on your website.
You can embed your online store anywhere you’d like — on Google Sites, Blogger, or your personal website.
And that’s it. Three steps and you literally have your own online store set up and ready to go.
This is really a great new gadget from Google, especially if you’re one of the many aspiring merchants or SMB owners who were intimidated by the thought of creating your own e-commerce store. Now, you don’t have to be. Thanks to Google, you don’t have to worry about hosting, dealing with the technical elements of setting it up, matching inventory, receiving payments, etc. They’re taking care of that for you and helping to make the process as painless as they can.
What I really like is how much this lowers the bar to entry for merchants to start up. There are so many people out there who have a blog and perhaps wouldn’t have thought it “realistic’ to attach a store to it. Now they can. Even if you don’t have a huge lot of inventory, but just want to sell a handful of homemade goods. A process like this makes it easy enough for you to do that.
I don’t think you can call the new Google gadget a PayPal killer any time soon, but if you’re looking to get an online store up and running quickly, this may be a good way for you to go. The gadget goes what Google does best — simplifies Web activities so that even us regular people can take advantage of them.
Do practice some caution, though. The gadget is still in beta so we don’t fully know what Google plans to do with it. You don’t want to launch a huge online store, only to have Google decide to take it down or make adjustments to it without telling you. Still, I think it’s worth experimenting with, especially if you’re simply looking for a quick way to get started in the world of e-commerce.
What do you think? Will you use the gadget to attach an online store to your Web site or blog?