Is it time for Google to pay up for payments?
For years, we’ve been watching the Internet giant experiment with technology for people to pay online and in physical stores. The latter is through its mobile service Google Wallet. Google isn’t interested so much in payments as revenue stream, people who have worked on those efforts have told me. But instead it’s looking for access to shopping data that could be invaluable to its core online advertising business.
An obvious route for Google would be simply to take out its checkbook and buy a major payment company. One analogy would be its move into display advertising in 2008, when it acquired DoubleClick, the dominant company in the business, for $3.1 billion. DoubleClick had technology both for placing ads on websites and enabling marketers to buy ads, and it controlled more than 70% of parts of the display ad market, analysts estimated at the time. It was a smart deal: In one swoop, the search juggernaut became an online ads juggernaut and forged new relationships with brand advertisers.
But there’s no DoubleClick for payments. Not even close.