Google E-Commerce

Google Checkout

Google announced the release of a gadget for utilizing Google's Checkout (shopping cart) with Google Sites and Google Spreadsheets.  The basic concept is to create a spreadsheet with item information, quantity, price, and url of a picture; then utilize the gadget to turn your Google Sites page into an e-commerce platform!  The Google blog says you'll be ready to go in three easy steps under five minutes.  The reality is that it takes a bit longer to do, but you don't need any coding and you can integrate simply into Google Sites as advertised.

Links to the checkout gadget:

  • Large:
  • Small:
  • Tiny:

The best step by step instructions are available on Google's code development site for Google Checkout.

Google Checkout forum has questions and answers.

Within this site is a live feed to Painted Miniatures - this is "real" e-commerce site integrated within my Zingodia website in that if you purchase an item, your credit card will be charged and I will ship you the product!

Some lessons learned...
  • The pictures automatically get formatted to fit the pre-defined boundaries of the gadget - in order to get an approximate same size/scope, the pictures need to be the same width (ie - picture width is the key).

  • To create multiple web pages (such as by product type or brand), you'll need to create pre-defined spreadsheets and link each spreadsheet to a webpage - Google Checkout will retain the shopping cart data throughout the site.  <-- this concept no longer works in latest Wizard version of gadget - must use first generation - links above, but do not get benefits of the 2009/12/19 or later enhancements.
    • 2010-10-16 - an example site using the first generation of the gadget -  Bebe+Me - nicely done website selling beautifully handmade baby gifts, each page is linked to a spreadsheet by product type, yet the shopping cart retains the collected order throughout the site.

  • The full blown Google Checkout product allows for a lot of customization that isn't available in the gadget - at least not yet.

  • Google checkout doesn't go back and deplete inventory levels at this time - looks to be a request but it might be a bit tricky to program. <-- as of 2009/12/19 update, the checkout process depletes the inventory in the spreadsheet.

2009/12/19 - update - the latest version of the Google Checkout Gadget provides for pop-out pictures, custom data collection, inventory control, and shipping terms as setup in your Google Checkout settings.  Only drawback is that all items must be sold on a single page.  The above gadget xml links will still work but will not have these additional features.  For a live example of the latest checkout, select this link to Painted Miniatures 2 - again, this is a "real" e-commerce site with credit card processing.

2010/01/07 - update - the latest version of the Google Checkout Gadget provides for digital delivery of product automatically (see digital delivery example - it's done in a sandbox so that you can go through the checkout process and receive a link to the picture) as well as full HTML support in the title and the description columns - I've modified the first line in the Painted Miniatures 2 site and blogged about the enhancement.

NON-PROFITS - can also utilize a special version of Google Checkout which does not utilize the gadget, but should work within Google Sites by cutting and pasting some html code into an appropriate container.