Google Wallet has been kind of useless for Google outside of select markets; while it has facilitated the early days of mobile payments via NFC, it really hasn’t taken off in the way it could (and perhaps should have done). Apple, meanwhile, has launched Apple Pay and though it’s not in Australia yet either, it’s certainly looking pretty promising.
A report from the Wall Street journal shows that Google hasn’t given up on Wallet and may be preparing to make a number of changes to the service to reinvigorate it and keep it competitive. Here’s what we know:
- Google’s acquisition of Softcard continues, and while it alone has not been particularly beneficial to Google — a lot of money was lost — they’re using it in a different way.
- Google’s going to ramp up partnerships with mobile carriers to give them a share of the mobile payment earnings; something that Apple has refused to do.
- Apple Pay’s success has grown on the wide adoption of third party companies, from banks, credit cards and retailers. Carriers, who have been cut out by Apple, can jump on board with Wallet and provide a service that’s potentially more widely usable; it doesn’t require retailers to get on board, just the middle men. On that, Google is working hard to get Visa and Mastercard on board with the Google Wallet idea.
It’s clear that Google is getting organised around something but precisely what they’re going to do with all this remains unclear; Google Wallet for the moment isn’t terribly widely used in the US, and it isn’t available anywhere much else. There are signs that this may be the subject of some more discussion at Google IO 2015, which would be fantastic.
It’s a slowly developing story. As we find out more, of course, we’ll let you know.