Google Must Balance Multitude of Competing Interests

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-28 Print this article Print


5. The lawsuits are already flying

When Google launched Wallet, it must have known that it would be facing some outcry from competitors that would be trying their luck in the marketplace, as well. But who knew that it would be facing lawsuits so soon after launch? Not long after Google unveiled Wallet, PayPal sued the search giant over claims that it allegedly stole trade secrets when it poached ex-PayPal executive Osama Bedier for Wallet. Google hasn't commented on the suit yet. But the suit could have significant ramifications.

6. Adoption will be too slow

Considering Google Wallet will be available at first on a single device and it will work only with Citi's PayPass system, it might be hard for the technology to get off the ground. Since the service is only running on a single device, few users will even jump at the chance to use it. Google Wallet might be a victim of its own uniqueness.

7. It's too soon

The idea of near-field communication has been around for years now, and there is little debating that the technology will continue to play a key role in payment processing going forward. But one must consider whether Google Wallet is ahead of its time. After all, the devices, retailers and even Google itself don't seem ready to deliver everything that the market needs to be successful. Google Wallet might have had a better chance of being successful if Google launched in late 2012 or even later.

8. Can Google handle the different interests?

Google will need to deal with the many different interests of all the stakeholders in the marketplace. There are some companies, including credit card firms, that might want to try their luck in the NFC space. There are vendors that might not see value in delivering NFC. Every company will want a fair piece of the revenue pie. Google will need to handle and accommodate the many different interests of stakeholders and do so to its own advantage. That's no small task, and it's impossible to know if the company can pull it off.

9. The competition is coming

Speculation abounds that Apple will be bringing NFC technology to the next iPhone. If that happens, Google could be in for trouble. As noted, the search giant needs help from vendors in order to offer Google Wallet on devices. Apple, however, has full control over the iPhone hardware and the software. That alone gives it an advantage that could prove extremely troublesome to Google over the long term.

10. Educating the public

NFC is still a new technology to consumers, and Google's job now is to inform them on why they should want to use Wallet rather than their own credit card. Unfortunately for Google, that might be a hard sell. As identity theft becomes a hot-button issue around the U.S., consumers are more sensitive to their security than ever. The idea that they might need to cancel their credit cards if their smartphone is lost or stolen might not appeal to them. Add that to the fact that more people choose an iPhone over any other single Android device, and it quickly becomes clear that educating users on the benefits of Google Wallet is more about helping them feel better about its disadvantages. Simply put, Google Wallet isn't an easy sell. And that could derail the service before it even has a chance to get going. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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