Feb, 23 2015

Google Wallet has been one of the most promising contributions from Google. It may not be as exciting as a hot new Nexus device or a new Android version, but it promises to change out lives and the way consumers… consume. The idea of replacing physical wallets, money and cards with a smartphone seems to fit perfectly with the way mobile technology is moving. The few of us that have adopted it are loving it, and Google has great plans for the future, but Google has seen a imminent threat rising all along.

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have been working together on an NFC mobile payment solution known as ISIS. This would not be an issue if carriers and ISIS had a more open mentality about competition, but carriers have been blocking Google’s service. Sprint and AT&T have been a bit more flexible, but other carriers have forced users to opt for workarounds to be able to use Google Wallet. Especially Verizon, which claims Google Wallet brings security concerns.

Hands-on with Google Wallet

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This, along with the fact that NFC is still slowly being adopted by manufacturers and users, has been slowing down Google Wallet adoption. But Google is still going full-speed ahead on the project. Osama Bedier, VP of Wallet and Payments at Google, has recently addressed the issue at a conference. He briefly addresses that NFC payments is still much better for the future, compared to Apple’s brand new Passbook.

Bedier goes on to mention that Google plans to become more ubiquitous in the mobile payment market, and such could be accomplished in 3-5 years. The only problem is carriers, who have been giving Google a hard time.

In general, we will work with the carriers on multiple fronts. We haven’t yet seen eye-to-eye on a mobile wallet solution. We would like to see a more open model. -Osama Bedier

As Android enthusiasts, nothing would make us happier than to see Google Wallet succeed. The service has gone a long way since its launch. It now supports all 4 major credit cards, whereas before one could only use Citi Mastercard or Google’s prepaid cards. Security breaches have been addressed quickly and with caution. NFC has started to become a standard for new Android devices. I say we are ready to make some changes, Google.

The service has evolved enough to warrant its success, the only thing stopping it is adoption and carriers. ISIS is launching in a couple test markets this month, so what can we do to pull Google Wallet out of its hole before it’s too late?

Carriers have a clear advantage. They control the American smartphone market and can add ISIS as “bloatware” and make it the official way to do NFC payments (at least in the general consumer’s mind). But Google also controls Android – the #1 mobile operating system in the world. The Search Giant could become a little more aggressive; maybe take carriers out of the equation and just make Google Wallet available as a system app? Or have it authorize payments via its own system, instead of the carriers’?

Past rumors have stated Google may be considering the idea of sharing revenue with carriers, which could entice them to support Wallet. Honestly, though, these carriers could probably make more by having more people using ISIS. And the idea of challenging carriers by dropping the “F bomb” and just making Google Wallet available for everyone may be risky, regardless of how popular and profitable for carriers Android is.

Personally, I see Google in big trouble after ISIS goes full speed ahead. I highly doubt carriers will change their minds; they would somehow need to be forced to accept Google Wallet as an option for customers. It is indeed sad to see carriers compete unfairly, but like we have said before… the mobile market is controlled by carriers, in the US.

Whatever move Google decides to make first, it has to be made soon. I fear Google Wallet will never become ubiquitous, otherwise, and ISIS will. But what do you guys say, do you think ISIS will mop the floor with Google Wallet or am I just worrying too much?

[Via: The Verge]

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