Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

December 03, 2013

Square Picks Up Viewfinder, Steps Up Versatility

Square is something many businesses today are making use of, especially those businesses that want to take credit cards quickly, easily, and from anywhere. That simple combination of plug-in dongle and mobile device has made the credit card process a lot easier. But Square isn't content to just be the credit card kingpin for businesses of all stripes, as evidenced by its recent acquisition of Viewfinder.

Viewfinder offers up a mobile application for better organizing vacation memories—or any other photographic memories, for that matter—and making them more readily shared among specific groups of people. Users can effectively “target” photos to specific individuals, as opposed to just posting photos publicly and allowing users to leaf them. For the time being, users will reportedly be able to continue using the Viewfinder app, but updates won't be forthcoming, and customer support is likewise derailed. There is, however, a data export tool in the works that will allow users to quickly and easily download conversations, as well as photos, so that's certainly a plus for current users.

As for the connection to Square, it may seem out of the ordinary that a payment processor would be interested in what amounts to a photo dissemination system, but reports indicate that there might be something interesting afoot after all.

Square's interest in Viewfinder may have come from a combination of “...beautiful design and highly technical engineering,” though some are looking at it in more objective terms. Some have even suggested that Viewfinder's technology could become part of some new developments in the Square marketplace released back in June. Square also recently picked up the design firm 80 / 20, so some are looking at Square's augmentations and wondering if that's a sign of Square's plans to go public.

When a business can improve its versatility that's seldom a bad sign. An app like Viewfinder could also have some marketing applications, disseminating pictures of new products and even coupons and the like to users, an especially valuable proposition. Square already does a fine job in terms of enabling businesses to take credit cards, and if Square could augment its services to merchants in terms of things like marketing and advertising, that would allow Square to easily become a full-service operation. With plenty of competitors in the mobile payments arena, like Paypal, distinguishing itself from the pack is going to have to be a high priority for Square overall.

With the mobile wallet market poised for big gains in the near-term future, a mobile payment processor that can offer a full-service solution, from marketing to sales, could be a very big seller among businesses who need more ways to bring in customers in an economy where purse strings often remain tight. While it remains to be seen just what Square will ultimately do with its new acquisition, there are plenty of exciting possibilities. It should therefore prove exciting to see just what comes out of this, and what kind of impact it will have on the market.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi




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