Google Wallet Unveiled amidst Lawsuits and Security Concerns

by Matt Klassen on May 30, 2011

Since it was announced last week, Google’s new Google Wallet mobile payment program is causing quite a stir, not because it has revolutionized the way we interact with merchants, but because its been allegedly stolen from PayPal and may be subject to intrusive malware like so many other Android features.

I’m sure it wasn’t quite the rollout that Google anticipated, but since Friday when the search engine giant officially unveiled Google Wallet, it has been promptly sued by online payment company PayPal and its had its security questioned by several in the tech industry, leading many to already cast a suspicious eye towards the mobile payment service, long before its even slated for release.

But from a consumer perspective, I would wager that the latter concern carries far more weight than the notion that Google may have stole the idea from PayPal. If Google wants to be on the cutting edge of the mobile payment revolution, it better make sure Google Wallet is safe and secure. This is our money we’re talking about after all.

Nevertheless, the story involving the lawsuit filed by PayPal strikes me as interesting. It alleges that former PayPal senior executive Osama Bedier, who by the way was the head of the company’s mobile payment platform, stole trade secrets and gave them to Google when we went to work for the search engine giant earlier this year.

While its not clear what specific secrets PayPal is referring to, I suppose that there are enough similarities between what PayPal is working on to what it saw in the new Google Wallet. I would guess, however, that this lawsuit will eventually fall by the wayside, yet another example of the importance of being the first to roll out new technology. To that end, if Google was able to acquire and integrate PayPal’s trade secrets in less than a few months, one has to ask, what is taking PayPal so long to do the same anyways?

The other issue Google was faced with this past weekend was concern over malware, an issue that Android has been notoriously bad at recognizing and preventing. As we’ve written about several times here at TheTelecomblog, the years to come will inevitably see a consistent rise in mobile malware intrusions, as hackers become increasingly savvy towards mobile users habits. With Android purportedly being one of the susceptible mobile operating systems to malware attacks, many analysts have questioned just how safe Google Wallet will be.

While Google has built in many security features into the Secure Element used to house Google Wallet and your important payment information, some analysts are sceptical that such features will do anything if hackers are able to take over your phone, a reality in this modern age of malware—particularly when people are so easily tricked into downloading harmful software.

In the end, Google remains confident that its new Google Wallet and its Secure Element will be able to protect users from all attacks, but until the technology goes live later this summer, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

arcanys May 30, 2011 at 6:17 am

So you still want Google wallet? Yes. Huh who says that mere lawsuits can hold me from being a google-r heh. Long live google! outsourcing company

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