Google Wallet Causes Rancor, but I Just Don’t Get The Whole Concept

May 30th, 2011 by · 10 Comments

To those of you in the US, stop reading this and go outside for Memorial Day!  Unless you're in the Midwest, in which case you should probably hide because Mother Nature still seems to be pissed off about something.  But if you're still here, let's take a moment and contemplate Google Wallet.  Because I just don't get it.

The new mobile payment system took the market by storm last week, and immediately came under fire from multiple sides.  Paypal went as far as to accuse Google of stealing their technology, apparently via the poaching of a top executive.  What!?  In Silicon Valley?  Say it ain't so...  Paypal immediately filed a lawsuit, which is of course the American way.  Meanwhile, the security community went after the soft underbelly of the whole concept.  Seeing as Android has proven to be rather vulnerable to malware already in its young lifetime, the idea of storing important financial and identity data on devices powered by it has obvious risks.

But really, somebody help me understand this whole mobile payment thing.  All this hoopla so that we can switch what we swipe at Shop Rite into something larger, heavier, harder to replace, and arguably less secure.  So that we have the convenience of having a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with either

a) a carrier we already *hate* to call for help (your call is important to us, please say your sixteen digit number again followed by the word 'bubble' in order to help our associate not be ready when they are finally available),

b) an online company that doesn't even list a phone number on its contact page (we'll respond to your email within the next 24-72 hours, thank you!) and has been famous for not having call centers and for advanced voice-to-text automation that will probably read like 'This is Google Walkup calling about your conch.  We have detracted supercilious activity on your credit carp, which has now been liberated.  To restore your conch, please immediately [unintelligible] or we will be forked to make this status peppermint."

c) the same bank people we already call when we lose our card, except now we lost our phone too and they aren't quite sure they care. (Can you hold while I transfer you to an agent that knows what an HTC Thunderbolt is?)

Is it just that it's cool and mobile?  I can see the attraction on the corporate side, but as a consumer, why do I want this?

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Categories: Internet Traffic · Wireless

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10 Comments So Far


  • Anonymous says:

    you will have a more fulfilling relationship with all 3 companies because when theres a problem no one will accept responsibility, they will blame it on the others.
    “Its cool and mobile” that probably sums it up.

  • LMAO, I nearly spit my coffee out when reading this post. Agree with you 100%.

  • Anonymous says:

    While I might agree with what you are saying, why do you have to always be a smart ass about reporting? Oh yeah, this site is the TMZ of telecom news.

  • Anonymous says:

    the only place it would be useful is not with a credit card but with all the loyalty cards/membership cards from retailers. those take more space in my wallet then a credit card and seem to be accumulating more each day.

    • Rob Powell says:

      You know, that’s actually a nice point. I turn down those things all the time specifically because I don’t want the card. for this purpose, it does seem rather useful.

  • Andy says:

    I’m not impressed with this initiative, either. Anyone curious about how Google might support something like this only needs to hark back to the Nexus One and the fiasco around tech support for the phone.

    The store loyalty card argument is the first positive I’ve seen. However I don’t think I’ll ever link an RFID tag on my phone to a credit card.

  • Pat says:

    Thank you for a very funny take on the subject.

  • Anonymous says:

    great post. all true.

  • Mike says:

    Additionally, there should be some ways in which consumers get a bit more control over spending and budgets, including self imposed budgets/spending limits, more customizable historical views, etc. However, this can all be undermined by inadequate security.

    • Rob Powell says:

      Yeah, everyone is always looking for a way to enable those impulse purchases, so we can all be more like our fiscally responsible Uncle Sam and spend money first and check the books later. Sigh.

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