Yesterday, Google Wallet announced some seemingly big upgrades. Namely:
We’re releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Today, American Express wanted to clarify one little thing about that announcement to the press:
“Right now, American Express does not have an agreement with Google for our cards to be used in the Google mobile wallet.”
What a product.
It’s bad enough that Google Wallet co-founding engineer Rob von Behren left the Google Wallet team (following several others out the door). It’s worse that he left Google. But subsequently joining Square is the ultimate kick in the nuts.
As is von Behren’s entire comment to NFC Times:
When I left the Google Wallet project in January, I fully expected to stop working in payments but to remain at Google. After meeting the team at Square, however, I decided to do the opposite. Square is doing some great things in the payment space. They have a strong leadership team and a culture that fosters innovation.
The unstated implication there is that Google is not doing some great things in the payment space. Nor do they have a strong leadership team. Nor do they have a culture that fosters innovation.
This just keeps getting worse and worse for Google.
Too early to call it dead-in-the-water, but Google Wallet seems like one of Google’s biggest missteps yet. Olga Kharif of Bloomberg reports that Google is now considering giving AT&T and Verizon a cut of the transactions to get them interested. But I still don’t see why the carriers do this, it would totally undercut their own ISIS strategy.
Another option Google is exploring: sidestepping the carriers altogether and relying more heavily on in-store terminals to complete mobile-payment transactions, the people said. This approach could involve additional hardware or software for the terminals, coupled with software that runs on Google’s servers, they said.
So instead of requiring phones to authenticate payments — something that needs assistance from carriers — the system might send transactions to Google’s servers for approval and then clear it with the retailer.
So Wallet will be Google’s mobile payment solution for Android that doesn’t actually use phones. Brilliant.
Instead, Google hopes customers will be willing to send all their purchase data to Google servers for no good reason. This sounds like a total clusterfuck.
Google Wallet has seen a wave of departures over the last month or so and the company may need to rethink its strategy.
Over-promise, under-deliver. The Google Way.
Bringing the total to what, 11?
Serious question: has anyone ever — and I do mean ever — seen anyone use Google Wallet in the wild? I live in the technology capital of the world and have not.
Long story short: Google wanted to put Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus — the “clean install” Android that everyone loves so much — and Verizon said “no”.
Guess who wins here? Well, the software will not be available to Verizon Galaxy Nexus users.
Verizon issues a release saying they’re not blocking it — which is likely the biggest load of bullshit ever. No, they’re not blocking it specifically, they just won’t let Google release the Galaxy Nexus if it’s anywhere to be found on the device. Nor can users download it after the fact. Why? Some hardware claim that seems to be a flat-out lie.
Long story shorter: you get in bed with the devil, the devil fucks you.
Long story shortest: “open”.
The PayPal blog post on the matter is short, sweet, and to the point. And they include a link to the PDF with all the details.
I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but if Osama Bedier really was interviewing for a job with Google while he was negotiating a PayPal/Google deal (for Android) that’s not good. Reminds me of this.
By 2010, the executive in charge of the negotiations for PayPal was Osama Bedier. The executive in charge of the negotiations for Google was Andy Rubin. PayPal and Google had a deal finalized and signature-ready on October 26, 2010. By that time, unknown to PayPal, Bedier had just finished a series of job interviews with Google senior executives, culminating with a meeting on October 21 between Bedier, Google Senior Vice President Jonathan Rosenberg, and then-President of Google Larry Page.
That deal was never signed. A few days later, Google supposedly offered Bedier a job.
But on the flipside, why not bring it up until right now — the day Bedier was on stage for Google to release Wallet? PayPal implies that it’s because they presented Bedier with their objections to him going to Google and he backed down. And while a PayPal/Google deal was eventually signed, it fell apart before being completed when Page took over for Eric Schmidt as Google CEO. And Bieder made his move. Compelling stuff.
Also, if Bedier knows all that PayPal claims he knows and gave to Google, don’t you sue immediately when you know what he’s going to be working on at Google? (Remember when IBM sued Apple to stop Mark Papermaster from working there before he even started?) PayPal seems to say that Bedier gave them “assurances”, but come on, what else is the guy going to work on? I mean, you just admitted that you already stopped him once out of that very fear.
This one could get really interesting. Can’t wait to see Google’s blog post in response.