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This article was published on October 20, 2009

Twitter inventor’s new project takes shape

Twitter inventor’s new project takes shape
James Glick
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James Glick

James is a London based technology blogger and writer for The Next Web Network. Working for UK online advertising agency 20:20 Media and An James is a London based technology blogger and writer for The Next Web Network. Working for UK online advertising agency 20:20 Media and Analytics, James has a strong passion for start ups, social media, apps and the web community. He can be found writing for his personal, company and of course TNW UK blogs. Follow him via Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter inventor Jack Dorsey had been mooted to be developing a new project, codenamed ‘Squirrel’ earlier this year and additional information has surfaced over the last couple of days.

Its taken the shape of a payment system for the iPhone, providing the facility to receive payments on the go via a small dongle attachment.  With Dorsey relinquishing his CEO status at Twitter last year, it’s obviously given him the time to work on this next project of his, rumoured to be called SquareUp.

The process involves swiping your credit/debit card through the attached dongle, entering your details and away you go.  The app sends you an email with the details of the purchase as well as showing where the transaction was made using the geo-tagging information the app takes at purchase.  It certainly fills a gap in the iPhones functionality warddrobe, but how widespread could this be used, and how it would fare cost wise against similar products?

One place I’m sure it would be used is Apple’s retail stores!  Others could include bars, retail stores, trade fairs, festivals with the key USP being the mobility it will offer over rival terminals currently available.

Square Up
Square Up

An area that doesn’t seem to be so clear, is whether it supports Chip and Pin, and although the app is far from being finished, the above image suggests it doesn’t which opens up a host of security issues.  What would stop thieves from setting up a business and account, stealing credit cards and removing hard cash from a victims accounts in a matter of seconds?  It could certainly see pickpockets join the generation of high tech crime.

With Dorsey’s experience with Twitter, he obviously knows what it takes to design a successful product, as a well as a strong understanding of the tech industry.  It’ll be interesting to see the full feature list and how it operates if it does get released, and will certainly provide a useful and mobile way of processing transactions out in the field.

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