The man who co-founded the Google Wallet mobile payment platform and was instrumental in setting up the core of its technology has now left Google and will be working for a competing payment platform, Square. Square has gained significant traction for its frictionless credit card reader that lets iPhone owners accept plastic payments anywhere, anytime, and they pay nothing except a small transaction fee for every purchase.
This move brings up a couple serious questions. One is whether or not Square might be looking to expand to Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is the backbone of Google Wallet. Square created a market and became the poster child of that market, but it’s now under growing competition from players like PayPal, which just launched its own free credit card reader for mobile devices.
The other question is what the future is for Google Wallet. Despite continuous assurances that it is working on building new payment and hardware partners, it seems unlikely Google Wallet will ever come to T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon which have jointly developed a rival platform. Right now, only people on the other major carrier even have access to Google Wallet, and that’s only if they have a Nexus S phone and a Citi credit card. In other words, it doesn’t look like there’s much of a future there.