Google is about to hire "dozens" of mobile developers to stock up its Android marketplace, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Google has made it very clear that it will be focusing on mobile this year, and on mobile commerce in particular. Stealing PayPal's VP of product development is a good start, but the chocolate factory has also been advertising for someone who can deal with the technical side of managing mobile payments - and is now keen to round up Android developers.
The WSJ cites the ever-omniscient "people familiar with the matter" an impressive seven times, explaining that they are conversant with Google's plan to build autonomous teams of developers working on specific applications - applications that the developers might already have in mind at the interview stage.
The basic idea is to get developers in, give them money and resources to ensure a constant flow of decent, free and predominately Android apps funded by embedded advertising delivered by Google-owned AdMob. According to those familiar, the development teams will be spread around the world at various Google offices, operating as well-resources start-ups with access to Google's distribution mechanisms and support.
Using a free mobile application today, one can't help noticing that the vast majority of advertising is for other mobile apps; a situation that can't last. If anyone knows the mobile advertising market Google does, so presumably it feels the whole thing isn't just a self-supporting edifice.
Mobile payments, on the other hand, have a clear revenue stream if they can replace a significant proportion of the cash used today. Shops currently pay around a penny for a contactless transactions under £2, and four pence for anything under a tenner, compared to eight pence for a chip and PIN card and something between the two for handling cash. That makes mobile commerce self funding at worst, which is why (as NFC World reports) Google is looking for:
a self-motivated individual looking to drive solutions for an emerging business and solidify Google's strategic partnerships and initiatives across a variety of partnerships that include merchants, issuers, point-of-sales (POS) solution providers, mobile OEMs, etc.
...and has scooped Osama Bedier from PayPal.
Google is gearing up for a busy year: the company has been hugely successful at putting Android handsets into people's pockets, so now it's time to get some value out of them. ®