Google Wants Your Bank and Credit Card Information

Google is taking PayPal and Bitcoin on head on. They're likely to win.

Google-Wallet

Google is taking PayPal and Bitcoin on head on. They’re likely to win.

Ubergizmo (“Google Wallet Now Lets You Send Money Over Gmail“):

Google has integrated two of its products in to one another, presenting end users with an entirely different way of sending money online. Google Wallet has now been integrated with Gmail. Users will now be able to send money over email, all they have to do is literally “attach” money with the email they’re sending. The recipient doesn’t necessarily needs to have a Gmail account in order to receive the money. Sending money is free if the user’s account is linked to Google Wallet, and there are nominal fees for sending money through linked debit or credit cards.

Hovering over the attachment paperclip in Gmail email compose window reveals the attachment options. There, the “$” symbol can be clicked on in order to send money. Simply click on it , enter the amount and press send. This service is only available when Gmail is accessed through desktop and it will be rolled out in the near future in the U.S. to users over the age of 18. Another easier and faster way to get the service is to receive money from someone who already has the service available on their Gmail.

My initial thought was: Cool! It’s a minor pain to log into PayPal to send money electronically and, frankly, some of their business practices scare me. (They have a nasty tendency to put a hold on people’s accounts and not let them have their money. I make sure to transfer my balance to my bank account regularly.)

My second thought is reflected in the headline of this post: Now Google is going to have our bank account and credit card information to go with everything else they already know about us. Which is to say, pretty much everything.

Yes, it’s true, Google Wallet already exists. But I don’t use it; I doubt many do. The ability to use one’s smart phone to make payments isn’t really all that attractive, since I carry JamesWallet around with me everywhere the phone goes. But the ability to send money from the email interface where I already spend several hours a day will likely prove irresistible.

Damn you, Google!

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. KariQ says:

    And Doug Mataconis thinks that driverless cars will be too much of an invasion of privacy. I find that very cute.

    What you say about Paypal’s service has me thinking in a larger context.

    Coming generations will view loss of privacy quite differently than those of us who remember the days before the internet. Take “personalized” recommendations: I don’t mind Amazon having my purchase history, but I get annoyed with them for giving me recommendations that are not related to things that I’ve bought there. My purchases are going to other sites that make recommendations that more accurately reflect my purchase history and interests. It’s not the loss of privacy that drives me, it’s lack of service, or perhaps inaccurate service, based on that information about me.

    I suspect that later generations are going to feel this even more strongly. They will use Google products (or whoever comes along eventually to clean Google’s clock – it’s sure to happen) or not not because of privacy concerns but because of how well the provider tailors the service to their needs.

    The loss of privacy won’t be an issue so much as the quality of the use of what the company knows or ought to know about their customers.

    Google has a lot of information about a lot of people; the question is whether they can use that information to make their products compelling enough to maintain customer loyalty.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But the ability to send money from the email interface where I already spend several hours a day will likely prove irresistible.

    Fortunately, I no longer use e-mail so I will not be tempted.

    (and yes, the email account I list is legitimate, I just gave up spending several hours of every week deleting stuff I didn’t ask for, and reading emails from friends about stuff I really don’t care about, and resisting the urge to reply with spittle flecked rage to the well meaning emails from various family members about how Jesus is the best or how the Founding Fathers would have fixed all the problems we face today. Strangely enough, my life is a whole lot more relaxed these days. Now, if only I could give up OTB….)

  3. john personna says:

    (1) I’m fine with PayPal, and

    (2) Google does not actually win every fight it chooses

    … so I see no need to declare a winner in this case.

  4. rodney dill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Now, if only I could give up OTB…

    That’s just crazy talk.

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    Users will now be able to send money over email, all they have to do is literally “attach” money with the email they’re sending….Sending money is free if the user’s account is linked to Google Wallet, and there are nominal fees for sending money through linked debit or credit cards.

    Hacker’s delight.

  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Which one of us is the one you don’t know how to quit? /brokeback beltway

  7. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m somewhat unusual in that I run both my day job and this blog through Gmail. I read all of the comments on my posts via Gmail, for example, only coming back to the page when I want to respond.

    I use a couple of services, SaneBox and UnRollMe, that have largely eliminated the spam issue.

  8. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Now, if only I could give up OTB….”

    Your gain would be our loss.

  9. Trumwill says:

    A minor point, but I suspect more people use Google Wallet than realize they do. If they own an Android phone and purchase apps, I think they’re using GW.

  10. mistermix says:

    Trumwell is right: Every person who buys anything from the Android market, which numbers in the millions, has a Google Wallet account. Apple calls it an Apple ID, not “Wallet”, but they store your payment method, too. As does Amazon, which has a service called Amazon Payments.