Google Wallet has lost one of its co-founding engineers, Mr. Rob von Behren. Losing an engineer at a corporation as large as Google isn’t exactly crippling, but the jab of it is that Rob von Behren is going to Square. This square is hip, being the startup which provides those coolio plug-in credit card readers for cell phones. Not content to wound only, but apparently sensing the need to rub a little salt, Behren provided the following tidbit.
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.
…Implying that there is weak leadership and a culture that deters, or at least doesn’t foster innovation at Google? Two of their marque publicized values? If that doesn’t hurt a little, I don’t know what does.
The move itself also signals something that Google should be worried about—Square is seriously looking at entering the previously untouched NFC sphere.
While I believe we are eventually edging toward a non-centralized monetary system, I am also of the opinion that, despite being made by Google, Google Wallet may be about to get edged out of a market it helped spark to life. With ISIS’ carrier adoption and Square’s—relatively, we’re still talking about NFC here—broad adoption rate, I think it could seriously be in trouble. If both ISIS and Square get solid NFC offerings to market this year, do you think there is still room for a profitable Google Wallet?
| PC Magazine