Friday, March 13, 2009

Introduction to Google Apps

Just a quick note to let everyone know that my latest book -- and my first textbook -- is now available. Introduction to Google Apps is an introductory-level textbook that shows how to use Google's most important applications -- web search, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Presentations. Like all good textbooks, it's a four-color book with spiral binding, and comes complete with end-of-chapter exercises and the like. 

The book is 219 pp. long and sells for $70 or so, wherever textbooks are available. Click here to learn more about the book.

Google Checkout Price Increase

I love it when Google changes something big just after I send a new book about to the printer. The book in this instance is the upcoming Selling Online 2.0: Migrating from eBay to Amazon, craigslist, and Your Own Ecommerce Website. Much of the advice in the book is predicated on switching from PayPal to Google Checkout to handle online payments, and the fact that Google Checkout had considerably lower fees than PayPal (2.0% + $0.20/transaction vs. PayPal's 2.9% + $0.30/transaction). 

Until now.

Google just announced the end of their "introductory period" (which has lasted a few years) and the instatement of their new regular pricing. What are the new fees? How about 2.9% + $0.30/transaction -- identical to PayPal's fees. Plus, Google has eliminated the discount for those Google Checkout sellers also using Google AdWords. Way to go, Google.

Now, one might ask, why should a seller shift from using PayPal to using Google Checkout? Well, with the new fee structure, there is absolutely no reason at all to use Google Checkout. In fact, Google Checkout offers fewer features, accepts fewer payment options, and works in far fewer countries than does PayPal. Offering less than PayPal for the same price -- not a winning proposition.

And let's just forget the fact that this change negates much of the advice I offer in my book that hasn't even hit the shelves yet. Thank you very much, Google.