User Experience Engineering

Friday, December 27, 2013


Google Wallet Targeting Paypal Head-on

Google has made no secret of its universal and generalized payment technology ambitions. Now, it is spending ad money to position Google Wallet directly against PayPal. Here is an example ad appearing in Gmail:
Pay your friends back - - Right from your Gmail inbox. Skip having to split the bill

PayPal has a healthy head start, according to comScore, Forrester, and VentureBeat. Google has some things that eBay/PayPal lacks.
  • Ubiquity - Google is integrated practically everywhere.
  • Big Data necessary to speak to location, pricing, reviews.
  • A mobile phone company of its own: Motorola.
  • Google Apps - personal and business.
  • Brand Reputation * - a history of following the principle, "Don't be evil", versus a history of complaints.
  • Free Labor and Channel Control
    • Mash-up ease - Google has made a great many APIs available, and welcomes incoming technology in Google Gadgets, except gadgets that take money.
    • Publishing platforms with a longterm policy that accept Google Gadgets, and mostly reject custom scripting.
  • Head starts in nonprofit and mobile giving: Google Nonprofits, One Today
  • Respectable presence in eCommerce: Google Shopping
  • Google Ads
  • Google Analytics
It is difficult to say which of these advantages is greatest. If I were going to build my non-auction business on one or the other, I'd choose Google. Google could search and sell my product or service(1,6), advertise it (9), provide an integrated suite for reporting, CRM, VRM (4, 10), and push the wallet to mobile devices it owns (3). PayPal may be the most recognizable or trusted wallet brand. I would argue that Google is a more trusted brand overall.

*Brand Reputation

One could argue that PayPal has a substantial head start at creating ill will. I have my own biases about both companies. To casually quantify or qualify the reputations, I used Yahoo search, factoring out the possibilities of a Google Search bias against Paypal, and a Bing bias against Google. Look at the qualitative difference in result content: Paypal complaints. (2.52M results on Yahoo)  Google Complaints (1.75M). One could easily dismiss the quantitative difference, because PayPal has been around longer, and might be accumulating complaints at the same rate. However,  most Internet users have received some services from Google for free. PayPal and eBay have long been associated with gray market transactions. eBay recently won a Supreme Court ruling, having been implicated in a copyright infringement case.

Mash-ups and Publishing

The publishing platforms may represent digital sharecropping or progressive use of cognitive surplus, depending on your point of view. The same can be said of mash-ups, which could be viewed as free integration code, or invention-on-spec. It would be tough to argue that either is not powerful or popular. The policies against scripts and Gadgets that take money speak to Google's agenda. PayPal's agenda has been more explicit from the start.

I have an idea of what would wipe out PayPal's head start over Google Wallet...


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