Yesterday I went to a Google eCommerce Solutions event in London. That actually means that a load of Google people told a bunch of people who are registered with Google Checkout things about Google AdWords, Checkout and Product search. Google Checkout is a secure way of setting up payment options on your website. It's easy to implement, easy to register for and easy for the end user (i.e. the customer) to use. It's also secure because the customer's credit card info doesn't get shared. So say you bought something on my online shop then I wouldn't actually see your credit card number. I only see the information I need - which product, how many, address and name. That's the same as the payment system on Etsy, where I, as the shop owner, also don't see the customer's credit card info. The difference is that I can implement Google Checkout on my own website easily.
Google AdWords in just the advertising you see on Google - so when you do a search on Google, on the right hand side of the page you see the so-called "sponsored links", i.e. the advertising. Companies pay to have their ad show up there when certain keywords are typed in by a user. In theory this means you should only see relevant ads. I think Google is still working on making sure that those ads are always relevant. I've certainly done searches where I clicked on one of those sponsored links only to find that the page I get to is a shop that has nothing to do with what I was searching for. But luckily it's in Google's interest to make that better, because they need to protect their reputation for getting the best and the most relevant results. Otherwise people will use other search engines.
Google used to have a shopping bit which was called Froogle - it's the same as the regular Google search except it helps with shopping specifically. So you type in a product name, say "Ipod Nano" and it'll come up with all the sites that sell that and the prices. It's a shopping comparison thing. So, they've changed the name to Google Product Search....presumably because that's so obvious you can't get confused. It's easy to find, you just go to Google and on the top left hand corner of the page it says "Shopping". Easy, peasy. Anyway, of interest to people trying to sell their things, you can submit your product descriptions to this shopping section and then your products will show up if people are searching for them. It's free to do, it's useful, so why not! I'll be doing it as soon as I schedule in some time. It won't take that long because you can submit all your products at once if you have the necessary info in a spreadsheet.
I also learned something else very, very useful. But I'm going to keep that a secret for a bit and implement it on my website and then let you know how useful/easy it was!!! oooo er how exciting :-)