Google Wallet, the mobile payment platform that Google launched in May 2011, has had a very tough time lately, facing serious security problems, carrier rejection, and an unexpectedly strong competition from PayPal.
The latest update on Google Wallet is a classic good news/bad news scenario – the fledgling mobile payment system received yet another painful blow, this time from the inside, but is still inching forward, with the acquiring of TxVIA, a small, but well-established payment processing company.
Let’s discuss this mixed bag of news on Google Wallet and try to find out if the mobile payment system has a shot at being alive and kicking in, say, six months or a year. Or, on the contrary, will Wallet join Google’s gallery of ill-fated projects, as some technology experts have predicted over the past couple of months or so?
Google Wallet team lost key members
According to reports that surfaced over the past months, several important members have left the Google Wallet development team. Jonathan Wall, the project’s co-founding engineer, and project leader Marc-Freed Finnegan were among the key figures to leave Google Wallet, which made some think that the mobile payment system will be killed before having a true chance to prove itself.
Not only that, but Wall and Finnegan went on to form Tappmo, a competing mobile-payments venture, making things appear a shade darker for Wallet. However, the most painful blow didn’t come until a couple of days ago, when it was revealed that the remaining project co-founder, Rob Von Behren, left Google for Wallet’s most dangerous opponent, Square.
And if that wasn’t enough, Von Behren also announced his new employer on his LinkedIn profile page, without letting anyone at Google know of it first. Double ouch!
When nothing works as planned, buy someone
That could well be Google’s credo, not only when talking about mobile payments, but in pretty much any area in which the Internet giant has business interests. Regardless if you agree with this strategy or you consider it a desperate move, I, for one, admire Google’s courage to drive forward a project that almost no one has faith in anymore.
Google’s acquisition of TxVIA, a “technology pioneer”, according to Osama Bedier, Vice President of Wallet and Payments, was officially announced yesterday. The TxVIA purchase is intended “to complement payments capabilities and accelerate innovation towards our full Google Wallet vision”, as you can read from this Google Commerce blog post.
Who or what is TxVIA, you might ask. Well, according to the same blog post, it’s a payment processing specialist founded in 2008 that has supported the management of more than 100 million accounts since its inception. TxVIA also supposedly partnered with some of the industry’s best known brands, even though no name was provided to back this statement.
Sure, this acquisition will most likely make no wonders for Google Wallet and will most definitely not solve all of the service’s problems overnight. On the other hand, like I said, this is a bold move and it’s a sign that Google’s big bosses still have trust in the project and want it to move forward. And, usually, when Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and the rest of the giant’s executives trust something the way they seem to trust Google Wallet, they let nothing get in their way.
What do you guys think? Does Google Wallet still stand a chance of becoming a trusted mobile payment service or is the project gearing towards a painful end? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below!