Google has been in the mobile payment sector with their Google Wallet system for longer than Apple with their Apple Pay system. The weird thing is Apple’s new mobile payment system is gaining more attention and success than Google’s Wallet. Apple Pay makes it look like the Wallet is taking a back seat. But it is true that Google has never meant to put Wallet as a total wallet replacement and has not given it as much attention as it should have gotten. The result speaks for itself when Apple’s Pay picks up so many interest from so many different parties despite all the speculations and complaints on the system.
Google seems like they are ready to step up in the mobile payment system going up head to head against Apple though. They are starting to take Wallet seriously by talking and coming up with deals with major carriers in United States to pre-install all future Android’s coming out from the carriers with Google’s Wallet app. Furthermore they actually acquired Softcard’s “technology and intellectual property” which could help with the discussions with the three carriers since Softcard is actually the contracting mobile payment company that was supported by the three major carriers in the US anyway. Even the banks are being poached by Google to support this Wallet ‘upgrade’. That being said, the acquisition will also help Google spread itself in the field with the existing users of Softcard. The only issue they might face here though is with Samsung. Samsung, prior to Google’s Softcard acquisition had acquired Loop Pay. Loop Pay is also Softcard’s and Wallet’s competitor in the mobile payment segment and could prove to be a trouble when Google, inevitably pushes their Wallet to every manufacturer as a standard app on Android.
On top of the Wallet’s boost Android is also planning to release a new API for in-app transactions and other forms of mobile payment platforms. It is called the Android Pay API. Google apparently meant to make this a simplified framework for developers to integrate this API in their apps to centralise in-app purchases and transactions. Do note that this is not a replacement for the Google Wallet though. It is not even an extension of the Wallet. Instead the new updated Wallet app that would be announced in Google I/O will be using the Android Pay framework as its base. This could make things easier for developers alike to integrate all payment methods into the same API as Google Wallet’s. For one advantage they could get from this is the one-click pay method that is already in implementation in Google Wallet but not for in-app purchases.
It does look that Google realises that since Apple Pay is picking up the way forward is to use mobile phone as means of payment in the future. It is also about time that Google really does something with the Wallet and upgrade it to the point where using them is a norm. Mobile payment also proves to be important with our app heavy lives now. So what can Google do to get back in the game? Plenty, but the question is whether or not it is too late for them to step back into the game. We shall see in the Google I/O.