Google had a pair of high-ranking executives this week. The first was Bill Ready, Google’s “President of Commerce, Payments and Next Billion Users,” who left to become CEO of Pinterest. The other big departure is Javier Soltero, who was vice president and GM of Google Workspaces, Google’s paid business app, and leader of Google Messaging. Both executives made major changes at Google during their nearly three-year tenures at the company. Now that they’re leaving, it’s unclear what the future holds for their respective products.
Ready had only been at Google for two and a half years, where his highest-profile move was presiding over the disastrous rollout of a significant Google Pay reform. The new Google Pay app was led by Ready’s payments team, led by another recently fired executive, Caesar Sengupta. The Google Pay reforms brought an app originally developed in the US to India, where the need for phone number-based identification came with a huge list of downgrades: the Google Pay website was stripped of payment functionality, the app no longer supported multiple accounts. , and you could not log in on multiple devices.
The rollout of the new app was also clumsy. Slowly, over a month or two, users were moved out of the old Google Pay and had to transition to a newer app. The new identification system was not backward compatible with the old Google Pay, however, which meant that users on the old app still could not send money to users on the new app.
The new Google Pay was announced a year into Ready’s tenure at Google and was launched in March 2021. The app initially came with big plans for expansion, including a wild announcement of Google-branded bank accounts. According to Insider, Sengupta left Google a month after the US launch of the new Google Pay, triggering an “escape” of employees. “Dozens of employees and executives” left the payments team after Sengupta left, one employee said, adding that there was “disappointment” that the new Google Pay “wasn’t growing at the rate we wanted it to be,” the report said. “
What happened afterwards seems like a complete overhaul of the original “New Google Pay” game plan. Google typically launches a product in the US first and then slowly rolls it out to the rest of the world, but after the initial poor reception, the new Google Pay never saw a widespread rollout outside the US. Google canceled its highly publicized plans for a Google bank account, although according to the Wall Street Journal, the company already had 400,000 curious users signed up for a public waiting list.
Ready appointed a new leader of payments this January, with Bloomberg describing the move as a “reset” of Google’s payments strategy. Ready made headlines at the time by saying, “Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to,” although no Google products have surfaced.
Four months later, at Google I/O 2022, another Improvements to Google Pay were announced, re-branding the product to “Google Wallet”. That’s right, after a major revamp of Google’s payments app in 2021, there’s now another new revamp in 2022. It’s ready five months after appointing a new payments lead and setting these plans in motion, but that won’t happen around the launch of Google Wallet. Between the departure of old payments lead Sengupta, Sengupta’s boss, Ready, and “dozens” of team members, it sure seems like the payments team just finished cleaning the house.
Perhaps at the heart of Google’s payments turmoil is the fact that most estimates put Google Pay at 3-4 percent of the US NFC payments market, just behind Apple’s roughly 92 percent market share. This is an embarrassing loss as Google was a leader in NFC payments and entered the market three years before Apple.
Such instability is a big part of Google’s payments problems, with Google’s payments app running through four different brands (Google Wallet, then Android Pay, then Google Pay, now Google Wallet again) over 10 years. Is. It still doesn’t look like the company has arrived at a great solution with the new Google Wallet. The current plan—which may change once a Ready replacement is hired—is for Google Wallet and Google Pay coexistence in America. In the rest of the world, there would be a payments app, Wallet, which seems like a clean, reasonable offering. However, in the US and Singapore, Google doesn’t want to eliminate the widely banned new Google Pay app, so Google Wallet and Google Pay will be available. Why? If the codebase apparently has the full payment feature set as the wallet is rolling out to the rest of the world, why not roll it out everywhere?
Google is still looking for a VP to replace Bill Ready, but the interim payments chairman will be longtime Googler Nick Fox. Fox was the first front and center Google as the head of Google Messages in the tech landscape when the company produced Google Allo. Allo was Google’s main messaging app from 2016-2018, which lasted about 576 days in the market. Fox has been running Google Search since Allo.