Google Wallet has had a rocky time in the last few months, and a pair of happenings today give it one step forward and one step back. Good news first: Google has acquired TxVia, a company that specialized in electronic payment systems. At the same time the NFC Times reports Google engineer Rob von Behren has jumped ship to rival mobile payment company Square, according to his own LinkedIn profile. Behren was one of two Google employees who created the Wallet NFC payment system.
To be blunt, things don’t look good for Google Wallet. Any time a senior engineer leaves it’s bound to cause a little consternation, but a service founder leaving his own product for a separate company smacks of a lack of confidence in the product. That could be from any one of a number of issues: low adoption among retailers, security concerns after a pair of high-profile exploits, or increased pressure from the credit card/mobile operator backed ISIS program.
The acquisition of TxVia is probably more to do with personnel than technology. Though the company has only been in operation for five years, they’ve become a player in behind-the-scenes electronics payments. Google hasn’t said how it intends to use TxVia’s technology, just that it’s going to enhance Wallet. On the other hand, all five of TxVia’s managing partners have been given undetermined positions at Google, according to their website.