At a simple level two things have kept Google from becoming Yahoo as it’s aged. The first is continuing to innovate — more or less. It may have missed social, but thanks to Android it’s one of the most important companies in the smartphone world. This is to say nothing of wild, GIVE ME THAT NOW! investments in things like Google Fiber, Google Glass, and self-driving cars.
The second practice doesn’t get as much attention, but it is equally important: The discipline to shut things down to focus on where the market is going. Google created Checkout as a competitor to PayPal, and while thousands of merchants use it, it never became a market leader. So Google has just announced it is going to shut down Google Checkout to focus on where the market is going — mobile. Google will focus development on Google Wallet instead, even as the division’s leader leaves the company and plans for a physical Google Wallet card have been put on hold.
This means customers without their own way to process payments in-house will need a new solution come November, and Google has partnered with Braintree, Shopify, and Freshbooks to offer discounted migration programs. When reached by phone, Braintree’s CEO Bill Ready wouldn’t tell us how many potential new customers this represents, but he says “it’s meaningful,” and could represent “many, many thousands” of new customers.
While Google may have tired of competing with PayPal’s legacy online payment service, startups like Braintree and Stripe have not. And, as we’ve written at length, developers are hungry for newer, more modern options.
The deal also highlights the bizarre “co-optation” that goes on in the tech world. Google may be bored with the battle against PayPal, but it’s focusing efforts on Google Wallet — which competes directly with Braintree’s Venmo Touch digital wallet. Both focus on making mobile commerce payments as frictionless as possible.
When I asked Ready about the irony of Google giving it the legacy checkout business in exchange for fighting harder on mobile, he stressed the two things most startups say when a huge giant gets in their space: It’s not a zero sum game, and it’s a big validation that Braintree’s market thesis around mobile payments was correct. “We’re happy to see the market moving in the direction we’ve envisioned,” Ready says.
Google and Sprint team up again to allow three of the most popular devices to have Wallet access
Not everything makes it into the Google I/O keynote, but that doesn't mean it's not still important. As a tweet from the official Google Wallet account, it announced that the Sprint Galaxy S4, HTC One and Galaxy Note 2 (also on U.S. Cellular) will all be given access to the Google Wallet app directly from Google Play. This is pretty big news, as those are likely three of the most high-profile and best selling devices available on Sprint today. The carrier was originally one of the few partners that has stuck with Google through the ups and downs of Wallet, so it's good to see that the two companies are still working together.
Users on any of the three aforementioned devices should be able to grab a direct download of the app from the Play Store, which can be found at the link above. Now all you have to do is find somewhere to actually use those NFC payment abilities.
Source: Google Wallet (Twitter)
Send money to anyone for free from a linked bank account; with small fees via credit cards
It wasn't a headline part of the Google I/O 2013 keynote, but the Google Commerce Blog has just dropped a pretty sweet feature on us -- the ability to send money to anyone from Gmail with Google Wallet. The option is being rolled into Gmail as just another thing that you can attach when sending a message. Right next to the paperclip for attaching files you'll see a "$" icon where you can click and send money free of charge to the recipient -- who doesn't have to have a Gmail account -- if you have a bank account connected to your Google Wallet account. Transfers sent by an attached credit or debit card are assessed a small transaction fee, and it is clearly shown when sending whether or not there will be a fee.
The ability to send money via Gmail will roll out over the coming months to U.S. residents over the age of 18, and won't be available on mobile through the Gmail app but will be possible with the Google Wallet mobile website. We would expect that once the security aspect of sending money on mobile gets figured out that the feature will hit the Gmail for Android app eventually.
Source: Google Commerce Blog
Gmail is rolling out Google Wallet integration, which will allow users to send money like any other email attachment. The recipients don't have to be Gmail users, but they do need to have Google Wallet set up. Read more at the Google Commerce Blog.
Following previous statements from MasterCard, Visa is potentially planning to charge mobile payment operators extra fees for their transactions. Speaking at the Barclays Emerging Payments Forum, CEO of Visa Charlie Scharf stated that it would be "totally appropriate" to charge mobile payment processor additional fees for using its cards for payments. Payment systems like PayPal and Google Wallet are what's called a "staged wallet", which acts as an intermediary between credit cards and retailers that are accepting the payments. Because of this, when Visa and MasterCard cards are attached to the services they don't receive back as much information about the purchases being made.
Once relegated to just online purchases, the likes of PayPal and Google Wallet have started to put this payment system to work at physical retail locations as well. This not only directly cuts into the fee income of Visa and MasterCard, but cuts them twice when they also don't receive the valuable customer purchasing data. These additional fees, which MasterCard already plans to implement, will hopefully help in both arenas.
"Help" may not be the best descriptor though, because a new set of fees for staged wallet providers will only reduce the number of choices you have to pay with. Visa and MasterCard have a huge interest in cutting down any competing payment systems that sidestep their current ways of doing things. As many know, they have even gone so far as to launch their own mobile payment systems -- to little adoption.
We know that consumers want these types of single-wallet systems to simplify the way they pay for things every day, let's just hope that Visa and MasterCard don't have their way with this one.
Google Wallet is getting a facelift today with its latest update, bringing a smoother UI and some under the hood improvements as well. The interface now more closely follows the holo UI guidelines, with navigation tabs along the top of the interface and an overflow settings button to hold all extra functions. You're no longer greeted by a list of all available cards, as they are now all housed one more tap away under the "My Wallet" tab with only your default card displayed. There is a button to go directly to "My Offers" from the first page, and new offers can be found from the "Explore" tab on the main page.
The update also brings some nondescript "improvements to the user interface, application stability, and battery life." Although no specifics are listed, these are all good improvements that although aren't as noticeable at first as a new UI make a big difference in the quality of the app.
The Google Wallet app has undergone several visual changes since its launch, and this is probably the best of the bunch. Head to the Play Store and check out the latest update if you have a compatible device, or stick around after the break for a few screenshots of the new UI.
Screenshots from a leaked Google Wallet app emerged last week, suggesting that Google Wallet may be headed to your real, actual wallet in the form of a physical payment card. This card, it seems, might be linked to your Google Wallet account, and as such, your associated payment cards.
Today further evidence has emerged suggesting the Google Wallet card might soon become a reality. The Google Wallet help page was briefly updated with references to the card and devices which will be compatible with it.
There's still no info as to when this card might be arriving, or which countries it'll be available in (though U.S.-only is a good bet). But the fact that help pages are being prepared suggest the launch might occur sooner rather than later.
Update: Seems all references to the Google Wallet card on the page in question have been pulled.