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Google Pay resets strategy again with new leader, might get into crypto

The Google Play logo is flushed down the toilet along with many dollar bills.
Magnify / Google Pay continues to bypass the channel.

Google is bringing in a new manager who hopes to turn the troubled Google Pay division. Bloomberg says Arnold Goldberg, PayPal’s chief product architect, will now run Google Pay after former payment chief Caesar Sengupta left in April.

Of the Google services that survived 2021, Google Pay had one of the most brutal years of all products. In March, Google Pay launched a brand new app in the US that replaced the old Google Pay app that had existed for years.

This new app was originally developed for India and is significantly different from the old Google Pay app used in the US. To begin with, the new app switched to using a phone number for identification instead of a Google Account, which meant that many of the features that US users were used to were no longer supported. Indian consumers are accustomed to the identity of a telephone number thanks to applications such as WhatsApp, and restrictions are not a big problem for users in this country, because smartphones are the only device of many consumers.



For Google Pay in the U.S., however, reliance on the SIM card for identity meant that the Google Pay feature had to die, the multi-device feature disappeared from the window, and Google Pay switched from supporting multiple accounts to supporting only one account. As we wrote shortly after the launch day, the new application was a disaster.

A month after the major U.S. launch, Sengupta left Google, leaving Google Pay users in the U.S. with clutter in the application and a major regression of features. Google Pay’s global user base was still split between old and new applications, and the division’s future – including the already-announced plans to launch a Google Plex bank account – was now controversial.

A August report from Business Insider revealed that Sengupta’s departure had triggered a major exodus from the division, leaving “dozens” of employees and executives, including “seven team leaders with the roles of CEO or vice president” and “half the working people.” in the business development team. “

According to the Pulse network (the wing of the Discover card), Google Pay has 3 percent of the entire NFC market in the USA.

According to the Pulse network (the wing of the Discover card), Google Pay has 3 percent of the entire NFC market in the USA.

In October, the division felt truly helpless, and there were reports that Google’s plans to launch consumer bank accounts were dead. Google has already promoted the service in several blog posts and had 400,000 people on the waiting list to get an account.

The BI report quotes a former employee who said, “Caesar [Sengupta] the departure was the culmination of the frustration experienced by the staff. The product didn’t grow at the rate we wanted. “We can get hard numbers for one of Google Pay’s main features – NFC payments – to support this claim that it didn’t grow fast enough. Pulse, a division of Google, was the first major technology company to NFC payments, starting with the Galaxy Nexus in 2011. That was three years before the launch of Apple Pay, but thanks to messy administration, endless reboots and rebranding and Android’s subordination due to the whims of mobile operators, Google is now in last place.

Restart Google Pay

Despite plans to launch a Google bank account, Google Store President (and other former PayPaler) Bill Ready, now tells Bloomberg: “We are not a bank – we do not intend to be a bank.” Google will focus more on being a “comprehensive digital wallet” that includes digital airline tickets, airline ID cards and vaccination passes. This sentence actually says very little because tickets and COVID cards are current features of Google Pay.

One new thing Google has mentioned is possible support for cryptocurrencies. Ready told Bloomberg, “Crypto is something we pay close attention to. As user and merchant demand develops, we will evolve with that.” Right now, Google is working with Coinbase and BitPay to store cards, but is not accepting cryptocurrencies for transactions.

The report mentions many new people in high positions in Google Pay, so hopefully this will lead to a more dramatic turn than stated in the article. It’s crazy to suggest it, but the service would be better if 2021 never happened. Can we return the old application and website?

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