Google Launches Trusted Stores Program, Offers $1,000 Lifetime Purchase Protection

Google today announced the official launch of its Trusted Stores Program. This program is meant to give online shoppers more assurances that participating online retailers are actually trustworthy. Online retailers who choose to participate in this program will be able to display report cards on their sites that rate the stores’ overall service and the reliability of their shipping services. The badge, says Google, “is only awarded to online stores that deliver a great overall experience, so even if you haven’t shopped with this merchant before, you can easily tell if they are trustworthy, ship quickly and reliably, and offer exceptional customer service.”

In addition to the badge, Google will also highlight these stores’ ratings right on its search results pages.

Google first announced this program last October and had been testing it with about 50 online stores since then. Last month, Google also acquired and shut down online trust seal provider KikScore. KikScore provided users with a more comprehensive examination of an online retailer’s site than the Trusted Stores Program, though, and included information about where a store was hosted and who owned the company.

Currently, this program is only available to U.S. merchants. It’s worth noting that Google is not forcing these retailers to use Google Checkout.

Shoppers who buy from a trusted store will also be able to opt in “to get up to $1,000 lifetime purchase protection per shopper.” Google, however, notes that any body parts you decide to purchase from online stores are not covered by this service (neither are miracle cures, drugs, and fake IDs).