Google is doubling down on Google Wallet, the e-commerce / mobile payment system that looks like a great idea on paper even though it has struggled in real life.
At Money2020, the alternative currencies and payments conference in Las Vegas this week, Google Payments vp/product management Ariel Bardin told attendees the company was moving staff off its core Adwords search advertising product and onto its payments projects, according to a note to investors from Baird Equity Research analysts Colin Sebastian and Rohit Kulkarni.
The move is another indicator that the digital/mobile payments and e-commerce business is getting hotter.
When Apple launched its iPhone 5S, observers were quick to note that its fingerprint security device, Touch ID, instantly made the iPhone secure for payments — because no one but the owner can unlock a digital wallet on the phone.
Then eBay bought Braintree for $800 million. Braintree is an e-commerce payments processing company. It competes with Stripe, which does something similar.
And then there is Jack Dorsey's Square, which allows anyone with an iPhone or an iPad to take credit card payments on the spot.
Here's what Baird had to say on the move at Google:
Google Payments executive Ariel Bardin provided an update on the company’s mobile commerce and payment initiatives, which to date have been largely underwhelming. Mr. Bardin indicated that Google planned to be a “long term” player in the market, and was shifting a number of employees from the core AdWords business to help with Payments - in our view, this indicates a higher priority internally for Google Wallet. In fact, the company is seeing a relatively fast adoption of the latest Google Wallet app, with 2 million activations in the three weeks since launch. The clear incentive for Google to gain more traction in payments is to provide a complete feedback loop for mobile advertisers, which would improve monetization. Key advantages for Google include the 100 billion searches per month on the site, one billion products in Google’s shopping index, one billion active users of Google Maps, and 200 million credit cards on file.
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