Google has been often in the headlines with its innovative products. Yes, now you can send cash using your Gmail. Well, Google had its own online payment system called “Google Wallet” since 2011, which was actually an upgraded version of “Google Checkout” started in 2006. They lately integrated this “Wallet” with Gmail functions. This Gmail integrated service is available only in USA right now, however, “Google Wallet” can still be independently used in other selected countries of the world.
Integrated Gmail is now capable to use your credit/debit card information and send/receive payments from other Gmail users. Wallet app can also be used for in-store merchant payments. With the advent of smart phones and burgeoning payment apps, Gmail would surely be an attractive destination for using only one app for all communication and shopping needs in a day.
What is the other side of the story? This could be seen as a “tie-up” marketing effort from Google. Guess which application had more users: Gmail or Google Wallet? Right you are, it’s the Gmail that has more users (approx 425 million until June, 2012, out of which around 130 million from USA) as compared to Google Wallet (estimated around 5 million users). Therefore, Gmail will hugely leverage the promotion of wallet through this integration.
Does this also mean that Google is now looking at your financial information and shopping behavior? Does it mean that Google will turn out to be a “digital bank” even without owning a bank? Well, it is all about business model: “how you make money”. It seems like, the more functions and amenities Google extends, the more invasive it becomes in such a way that consumers willingly forsake their privacy and behavior tracking activities by big corporations.