My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Google Wallet & Offers vs Square & PayPal - SME's International FlashDance


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Google Wallet & Offers vs Square & PayPal - SME's International FlashDance

Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep

Shakespeare, Henry VI, II, III, 1

Looks like the rumours of Google going big with NFC (Near Field Communication) for payment via your smartphones was true as stated in the article “NFC mobile payment ‘Google Wallet’ confirmed for Thursday press event”, published Thursday May 26th 2011 by Jeff Hughes, DigitalTrends.

This as the post-Google I/O Event on Thursday May 26th 2011AD launched the new payment option aptly called Google Wallet and Google Offers.

Google Offers is obviously Google trying to make up for their inability to purchase Groupon for US$6 billion in December 2010AD as stated in the article “Groupon turns down Google's US$6 billion offer”, published Friday December 3, 2010 2:51 pm ET by Ben Parr, Yahoo News.

They did, however, snag a big US Government contract worth US$6.7 billion dollars. This was in partnership with Networking and Server equiptment supplier Unisys to port the GSA (General Services Administration) email and documents into the Cloud using Google Docs and Gmail as stated in the article  Google scores big federal Government contract”, published December 2, 2010 9:07 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Digital Media.

My blog article entitled “Google Chrome Press Event - Naked Gun 33 and a Third The Final Insult” mentions this while chronicling the coming of Google Chrome OS and the Cloud-Computing smartbooks, codenamed Cr-48 in December 2010AD.

Beyond this history, if you know Groupon, Google Offers should not be too hard to understand: Daily Deals and Group purchases. Next!!!

So Google Wallet is yet another push towards the Cashless Society as stated in the article “Google launches electronic wallet”, Thursday May 26 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

The Jamaica Observer is how I even knew that Google had finally decided to take the plunge into Mobile Payments, as their Google Nexus S, their relaunched flagship phone for Google Android 2.4 aka Gingerbread came with NFC Technology installed.

Other sources for the same story merely bring the support and fill in the blanks:

  1. Google unveils mobile payments, coupon service’, Thursday May 26 2011, CNET News
  2. Google unveils Google Wallet and Google Offers for mobile payments”, published Thursday May 26 2011 by Jeffrey van Camp, DigitalTrends
  3. Google Tries to Jumpstart NFC Payments With Wallet Platform”, published Thursday May 26 2011,by Ryan Kim, GigaOM

I had long speculated on such a scenario in my blog article entitled “Telecom Provider, Apple, Google and NFC - In Her Majesty's Secret Service” in which I imagined a world where payments were made via smartphones enabled with built in NFC chipsets.

The article “How Google Wallet works”, published Thursday May 26 2011 by Jeffrey van Camp, DigitalTrends explains best how Google Wallet powered by NFC works.

The inner workings of NFC Technology is not much different from that of a contact Badge Reader e.g. to open doors at most workplaces, but with the added benefits of being able to Transfer Data between devices at 100Mbps as described in my blog article entitled “AT&T, NFC, and M2M  - Cashless Society and the Internet of Things”.

The fact that the device has to be within 4cm of the NFC Reader for a Transaction to take as well as it is extremely low power, requires your permission to conduct each Transaction and uses WCDMA (Wide Band Code Division Multiple Access) Encoding Schema for the signal modulation makes it VERY secure.

Its security features are best explained in detail in my Geezam Blog article entitled “NFC and M2M – Cashless Society and the Internet of Things”. The article “How secure is your wallet in Google's hands? (FAQ)”, published Friday May 27 2011, CNET News gives me some “backative” in this regard.

It has similar ambitions as Square’s Cash Register app for the Apple iPad, which has the backing of Apple Inc as stated in blog article entitled “Square and the Cash Register - SME Deep Impact”.

And like Square, it even comes with a widget in the form of a sticker that has a NFC chipset embedded in it “Special Stickers Will Bring Google Wallet To Android Phones That Lack NFC”, published Thursday May 26 2011 by Jason Kincaid, TechCrunch. Much like a RFID tag that can be placed on smartphones!

Or even on your favourite keychain or keyfob!

Except that unlike full blown NFC which is currently built into the Google Nexus S smartphone, it is connected to your Credit Card, Debit Card or Google Prepaid card ONLY and be used to make payments at stores that accept NFC Transactions.

It CANNOT do High Speed Data transfers, as the sticker is not connected to any of your smartphone’s internal memory storage electronics. In fact, you can put the sticker on anything that you like, even your ACTUAL wallet, if you are feeling up to poking fun at Google’s rather plain name for their service!

And as with any Google launch, what would it be without controversy. Turns out there is some controversy. Credit Card protector and Payment Giant PayPal is suing Google because they claim two (2) of its employees, Stephanie Tilenius and Osama Bedier, who left PayPal to work with Google, shared inside trade secrets.

This as stated in several articles:

  1. Google VPs sued by PayPal over mobile payment secrets”, published Thursday May 26 2011 by Jeff Hughes, DigitalTrends
  2. Et Tu Bedier? Why PayPal Is Suing Google, Execs”, published Thursday May 26 2011 by Om Malik and Ryan Kim, GigaOM

But legal action by PayPal, whose main business is online, seems strange, as they hardly have a presence in the Retail Transactions sector that Google Wallet or even Square targets as noted in the article “Keith Rabois: Square Will Be Way More Valuable Than PayPal”, published Friday May 27 by Ryan Kim, GigaOM.

Plus employees do have a right to seek work wherever they go, and will often carry so-called “trade secrets” with them, some of which the very employees may have helped to developed as stated in the article “Google Responds To PayPal Lawsuit: People Have The Right To Seek Better Jobs”, published Friday May 27 by Erick Schonfeld, TechCrunch.

To which some truth exists: Square has been rapidly expanding over the course of year since its May 2010 launch, having secured endorsements from VISA and Apple for their Business model as noted in blog article entitled “VISA and Jack Dorsey's Square - Leena's TechCrunch of SME's Mad Money”.

Also, Google Wallet goes after fast-paced established Retail businesses such as Train and Bus Tickets, Supermarket check-out i.e. places where getting in and out quickly is important to the customer.

Square, on the other hand, goes after the much neglected and slower-paced SME’s (Small Medium Enterprise), who have a smartphone but can’t afford a POS (Point of Sale) device, yet wish to do Credit and Debit Cards Transactions.

Google Wallet will win over time. But Square’s rapid expansion will continue, mainly because it allows customers not yet ready to jump on Google’s Technology bandwagon already used to toting about Credit and Debit Cards, to continue using them.

Plus, Google Wallet is missing a couple important heavy-hitters in their batting lineup that would make the mass-adoption of Google Wallet more likely as stated in the article “Google Wallet may be missing key partners”, published Thursday May 26th 2011 by Nancy Gohring, ComputerWorld.

True too of important international markets such as Jamaica. Even without smartphone adoption in Jamaica, which is mostly Blackberry country, Google Wallet can still work. This is due to the fact that a NFC sticker, much like a RFID tag, exists.

Thus Jamaicans can possibly get a Google Wallet Account and a sticker to be added to any phone that wishes to call itself smart, such as the Blackberry or even a regular feature phone like the Nokia 1208 (my personal favourite)!

As soon as Google Wallet negotiates deals with local Merchants, SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) and the Big Three (3) Banks in Jamaica, namely BNS (Bank of Nova Scotia), NCB (National Commercial Bank) and RBTT (Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago) in Jamaica.

Same thing Square needs to do in Jamaica as well as my blog article entitled “VISA and Jack Dorsey's Square - Leena's TechCrunch of SME's Mad Money” opines.

Not to mention quash all fears that people have about privacy with regards to anything Google, Flashdance (1983) Style!
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