How Evil Will Google Become?

Maybe I've still got evil on the brain. A week after the rerelease of The Omen on the so-called day of the devil -- you know, 6/6/2006 -- I'm wondering when Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) will finally give in to its darker side.

June 28 may offer another temptation. That's the date an RBC Capital Markets analyst says the search king will launch Gbuy, an online payments service similar to eBay's (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) PayPal. The fear is that, with Gbuy, Google could get unprecedented knowledge of what we buy and where we buy from, which would then allow it to charge huge premiums for its most effective advertising tools.

That's a legit concern, to be sure, but it's not why I'm writing today. Instead, I wonder whether the Big Goo, as Foolish friend Seth Jayson calls it, will embrace another kind of evil: Internet gambling.

The answer matters more than you might think. PayPal, you see, doesn't accept payments from gambling sites. And that leaves millions of potential customers to other providers, including Neteller, a Pink Sheets-traded company.

Neteller is like PayPal in most respects, except that the London-based company specializes in processing online gaming payments. Poker sites such as PokerStars and PartyGaming's Party Poker offer good examples. And it's a big business -- Neteller processed more than $7.3 billion U.S. in transactions during 2005. That's a lot of, um, evil.

Can Google afford to ignore it? Calls to Google PR requesting comment were not returned by press time. Nevertheless, the company may not have much of a choice, at least here in the U.S. Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, has introduced a bill in the House that would, if passed, ban money transfers for most forms of online gambling, including poker.

Still, any meaningful legislation could be months or years away. Meanwhile, PayPal remains the heavy in U.S. online payments processing, handling $9 billion worth of transactions in the first quarter. Reducing that edge won't be easy. History says that Big Goo's strategy will be to zig as PayPal zags, hoping to drag consumers along for the ride. And that makes sense. Too bad there aren't many ways to do online payments differently. Unless, of course, Google decides evil isn't evil after all.

Wicked Foolishness is yours for the asking:

High tech. Biotech. Nanotech. Any tech. David Gardner and his Foolish band of analysts cover it all forMotley Fool Rule Breakers. Ask us for anall-access passto the service to get a closer look at the four multibagger stocks the team has uncovered.Go ahead, you've got nothing to lose. Your pass is free and it's good for 30 days.

eBay is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorpick.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers thinks PayPal rocks. He's curious to see how Google will attempt to improve it. Tim owns shares of Neteller. You can find out what else is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 514120, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/26/2016 3:33:06 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,207.28 38.01 0.21%
S&P 500 2,140.64 -2.52 -0.12%
NASD 5,251.97 -31.43 -0.59%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 3:17 PM
EBAY $28.86 Down -0.19 -0.65%
eBay CAPS Rating: ****
GOOGL $820.39 Down -8.17 -0.99%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****