A year ago, Google’s commerce initiatives finally seemed to be clicking. Its same-day delivery service, Google Express, was a hit with consumers in San Francisco and its business selling paid product ads in search was, by most accounts, a big success with big retailers.
How quickly things change. In November, Tom Fallows, the architect of Google Express, stunned employees by leaving for a role at Uber. Then, this month, Fallows’s well-regarded boss, Sameer Samat, followed him out the door to become president at Jawbone, the health-tracking device maker.
Now, Google is set to launch perhaps its most critical commerce-related experiment ever: "Buy" buttons on mobile ads, according to multiple sources, which will turn Google into a cross between a search engine and Amazon.