Try as the company might, Google hasn’t has much success breaking into the mobile payment market. The birth of Google Wallet looked promising enough until Google lost one of its founders to competitor Square. But, in true Google fashion, the company plans to forge ahead with Google Wallet. The latest step in Google’s mobile payment plan has been to purchase TxVia, a payment platform company. This move is an interesting one for a few reasons, the first being that purchasing a company just goes to prove how serious Google is about becoming a major mobile payment player.
The other reason this is interesting news is that TxVia has been very successful as far as hooking up with payment providers goes. This may mean (depending on acquisition terms) that Google will soon have an edge on competitors like Square and Isis. Even though Google seems to have a clear plan in mind for Wallet, it’s hard not to wonder if Google is coming too late to the mobile payment party. In fact, it’s difficult not to see a recurring pattern with new Google ventures, one that includes lateness on Google’s part.
There’s very little doubt that the fastest-growing and most recognizable mobile payment company out there is Square. Square started its mobile payment platform quite a while ago and the company is growing by leaps and bounds (a great bet when and if the company goes public, by the way). Following Squares success, a number of other mobile payment companies attempted similar mobile payment strategies. Then, after all of those companies, Google got into the mobile payment picture with Google Wallet.
A parallel has to be drawn between Google’s timing with Wallet and Google Plus, the social network. Google created Plus far after Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn showcased a large amount of success. Try as Google did, Plus never really took off. One has to wonder if Google is going the same direction with Wallet. Might Google be too late to compete with Square and all other mobile payment companies? Or, will Google finally succeed in jumping on a moving wagon now that the company has acquired TxVia?
The Future of Mobile Payments
It’s clear that payments of all kinds are headed in the mobile direction. What isn’t clear is which companies (or what companies) will lead the pack. It certainly looks like Square will hold fast to its reigning title (especially with the new NYC Taxi contract that Square just snagged), but an underdog like Google might just catch up to Square eventually. Then again, Square has something that Google doesn’t: Square is a young and new startup with young and new ideas. Google, on the other hand, tends to simply follow trends.
As any investment advisor will tell you, following trends is not necessarily a good thing – or the way that a company should be run. Perhaps its time for some new blood over at Google, if the company can hang onto that new blood, that is.