Square, the mobile payments tech firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, Waterloo and Canada, has announced that the team of engineering wizards behind the New York photo-sharing startup Viewfinder will be coming on board to help build up the firm’s presence in the Big Apple. As any veteran product manager can tell you, it’s the technical creativity that goes into a product that lends it market credibility, and it looks pretty certain from its Viewfinder’s engineering talent rather than the photo-sharing app itself that Square is eager to sign up.
From image editing to mobile payments
Technically-minded product managers would agree that to call Viewfinder a photo-sharing app is something of an over-simplification: it’s a GIMP open source image editor, created by ex-Google engineers Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis. Before co-founding Viewfinder, they’d worked in Google’s NY engineering office which presides over much of the internet giant’s data infrastructure.
Announcing the new arrangement, which appears to be an acqui-hire, Square CTO Bob Lee said in his blog of his newly-appointed senior team members:
“The team is incredibly talented, having built an app that blends beautiful design and highly technical engineering to create personal, human experiences. This too is our mantra at Square, and the Viewfinder team’s expertise in building simple, elegant mobile applications will help us in our mission to make commerce easy for everyone.”
A product manager’s wager
Lee has known Viewfinder’s co-founders for some time, even while they were working at Google, and he’s clearly excited by the technology under their app’s hood. They’ll now focus on helping Square build its mobile applications from the expanding New York office (which is set to treble in size), in particular developing “seller initiatives”.
One such is “Square Market” which allows users to shop online from local stores. The chances are that Square wants this business to grow bigger – Market has been cleverly optimized for tablets and smartphones, so canny product managers can safely wager that a new native app courtesy of the now ex-Viewfinder team seems a near-certainty.
As for Viewfinder, it’ll carry on supporting existing app users but won’t issue any further updates, and there’ll be no further customer service (it’s no longer available from iTunes).