Bedier: We had a product where we helped payments happen online and another product that helped payments happen offline and it made sense to pull those together. If one of the biggest retail problems in the next decade is multi-channel, we need one wallet that works across channels. Our goal is a wallet that works on every computer, on every mobile phone and on every terminal in the world. But we're starting in the only way payments works: in a small microcosm and then growing it out and solving problems that haven't been solved yet: How to buy things on my mobile phone? How do I use my mobile phone to make my payments in the real world smarter? How do I use it to save me money and save me time, and delivering the continuity of experience across channels that hasn't happened yet?
IDGNS: Why did Google decide to start to merge Wallet and Checkout during the busy holiday shopping season?
Bedier: It had to do with the timing of us connecting these products on the backend, less to do with any specific timing in the holiday season. Now, of course, we put a lot of effort into making sure it wouldn't impact anything in the holiday season. As it relates to platforms and technologies and trying to combine products and simplify things, sooner is always better. The longer you wait, the bigger a problem it is to do down the road.
IDGNS: At this first stage, is it mostly a branding integration where people can merge their Checkout and Wallet accounts? If so, what will the deeper integration later involve?
Bedier: Yes, right now, the impact is mostly branding. Down the road, you can expect to see that anything you do in your mobile wallet will be available in your online wallet and vice versa. We want all your payment methods, coupons, offers, rewards, to be available to you whether on the web, on a mobile phone or any connected device you log into. It's all one platform on the backend. We did quite a bit of the platform work over the last few months and now we'll continue to connect these products together over time.
IDGNS: Your mobile carrier partner for Wallet is currently Sprint. What do you think about ISIS, the competing NFC (near-field communication) wallet initiative from AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless?
Bedier: It's good for NFC. It's an example of what we're trying to accomplish, so it's good to see other players helping move the ecosystem forward. The better we collaborate, the more valuable it is for consumers and merchants, so it's healthy. There will be multiple wallets in the future. Industry standards, collaboration, together figuring out how to solve the merchant and consumer needs that are emerging with these new technologies will help the whole industry grow.
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