Online enabler Google has announced that it will soon remove one of the last few moments of consideration standing between you and your every capricious whim, adding a “buy button” to its mobile site that allows you to purchase things directly from your search results, without having to visit another page or even think about it, really. The service’s chief business officer Omid Kordestani said yesterday that Google Buy is “imminent,” and it was designed to reduce “friction” for users by allowing them to go ahead and attach their credit card info to their Google login so they can shop instantly. In this case, “friction” is defined as those one or two extra steps that force you to think about whether you really want the complete Quantum Leap DVD set, or whether you’re just drunk. That process will now be as lubricated as you are, allowing you to move smoothly from senseless impulse to reckless spending in one fluid motion.
The introduction of Google Buy is also expected to remove the “friction” of actually having to go to a store, which demands you squeeze through this twisted, writhing mass of bovine flesh we call a world. Lamenting that around nine out of 10 purchases are still made in this grotesque offline realm, Kordestani hopes to change all that by adding Google Buy to products featured in its shopping ads. It would join Amazon’s Dash, Facebook’s Shop Now, and Twitter’s own Buy option in tipping the scales toward a system of primarily online-based commerce, where the sweaty, nauseatingly desperate faces of shopkeepers are replaced with shiny buttons. Lovely, coquettish buttons, waiting only for you to push them. Patiently biding. Asking nothing. Giving everything. Doting, indulgent geishas of the Internet.
Still, while most online retailers would probably welcome reducing the number of steps between searching for something on Google and that thing showing up at your house in the sober light of day, not everyone is thrilled. As both the BBC and Wall Street Journal report, some retailers fear that allowing people to buy things on Google without ever having to enter their website could end up “weakening their relationships” with customers, whose love is so frustratingly fickle. As an olive branch to those retailers, Google will allow consumers to opt into the same email lists and other marketing programs they would ignore on their sites anyway. That should hold them until all of life’s inconvenient negotiations can finally be replaced with a button.