Square hires former Facebook, Google ad guru to head up product engineering

Square card reader mobile payment

Ad technology wunderkind Gokul Rajaram has already made the rounds among Silicon Valley giants Google and Facebook, and now he’s landed at Square. The expanding mobile payments startup announced on Thursday that Rajaram will take over as Product Engineering Lead and will head up development for Square Register, the Square’s take on a retail point-of-sale and management system.

gokul rajaram, SquareRajaram was a product manager at Google that helped launch AdSense before he left in 2007 to found his own startup Chai Labs. Chai built a content management system, which helped travel, shopping and entertainment companies algorithmically decipher trends on the internet and then field related content. Facebook acquired Chai, and Rajaram, in 2010 and put him to work as director of ad products, building Facebook’s ad network.

Square doesn’t have an advertising network, so it may not be immediately obvious how the company will put Rajaram’s many skills to use. But you only have to look at some of the new marketing features in Square’s latest product, Market, to see where Rajaram might make a big difference.

Market creates online storefronts for Square merchants and integrates with Register and its inventory management system. Merchants can use social media – in particular, Twitter – to market their wares directly from the Square back-end.

It’s not hard to imagine Rajaram creating a system that allows Square merchants to read the pulse of social media and internet trends and promote their goods accordingly. Let’s say Justin Bieber is spotted wearing a stylish new chapeau, creating a tsunami of tweets and Facebook ‘likes.’ A real-time analytics system could then prompt Square haberdashers to start broadcasting promotions for similar hats across all of their social media channels.

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