The boss of global advertising firm WPP, Martin Sorrell, may be right on the money when he describes Google as a frenemy

A frenemy is, of course, a friend who is also a rival, a term often applied to rival, outwardly-friendly, Hollywood stars. It certainly works in this case. Google is a hugely important ally and an almost equally massive threat to the advertising industry.

But does this apply to financial firms too? Some may think so. For example, Money Marketing recently brought news of Google setting up as an advisor – note the ‘o’ – in the US.

This prompted Space 01 to go on to the website for a look around.

What we saw is a clean and seemingly intuitive comparison site with mortgages, credit cards, and the various US versions of bank accounts. There is certainly nothing that looks like advice as we would know it on this side of the pond.

What is clear is that if Google took a good run at things, it could easily become a huge comparison site player in the UK too. It already owns one of the lesser lights –

But does that make it frenemy? Surely it wouldn’t revolutionise things, because comparison sites have already radically altered the market.

This blog was therefore minded to declare that for insurers, asset managers and banks, Google is not a frenemy, at least not yet.

Then of course, we hear that Google is to offer cash payments on its Android mobile system which could of course replace the debit card. This is trialling in the States as this specialist website Money High Street reports.

This may also have been on the cards (geddit?) and it is not exactly a major move into banking or not the profitable bits of it. And yet that is a little closer, still, to the financial services market. Almost a frenemy then?

And of course, you know the age old warning – “Keep your friends close and your frenemies closer”.

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