Open up the Google Wallet app on your Android device, because there might be a $5 surprise waiting for you. Many Android users are reporting on various social media that they have found $5 gifts to various vendors for no apparent reason waiting for them in their Wallet app.
It's Update Wednesday again, and Google is firing on all cylinders. We've seen updates for both Android Wear and the companion app, Chromecast, Cardboard (who saw that coming?), and many more. Google Wallet also found its way onto the list with a few changes to its organization and styling. It started rolling out today, but we've got the latest version ready to download right now.
A post on Google+ earlier today calls out the most significant change for this version, which brings together gift cards, loyalty programs, and offers into a single link on the navigation drawer.
Update: The promo has ended.
For a limited-time, Google is willing to pay people to invite their friends to use Wallet. The tech giant will provide you and the recipient with $5 in credit whenever a friend who doesn't already have a Google Wallet balance receives money from you. Any amount is fine, including as little as a penny. All that matters is that you both live in the US and that they don't already have an account.
Most of us don't want to think of Android without Google Play services. There's a good reason for that, without all of the tools Google offers, we would miss out on features like push notifications, integrated maps, and even newer things like Google Fit. Developers keep asking for more and Google is answering that call. With the latest release of Google Play services, new features are coming to Fit, Maps, Drive, And Wallet.
People all over the world can create apps and get them into the Play Store, where millions of users can potentially download their software. The thing is, not everyone is able to get paid for their work. To charge money for an app, you need to live in one of the supported places. Today seven areas have joined the list. This brings the number up to just over sixty.
- Jordan (US Dollars)
- Lebanon (Lebanese Pounds)
- Oman (US Dollars)
- Pakistan (Pakistani Rupees)
- Puerto Rico (US Dollars)
- Qatar (US Dollars)
- Venezuela (US Dollars)
For clarification, residents could already download and pay for content in these areas.
Google's commerce blog was updated with a new post a little bit ago, but it was pulled down almost immediately. Luckily, we got a peek before that happened. Google is preparing to announce two new features of Google Wallet—automatic deposits and low balance alerts. They are both in the updated Wallet app.
In addition to being the alleged pre-order date for the Nexus 6, this is still an update Wednesday. Google Wallet is getting a big update too. It's jumping all the way from v2 to v7 with a full material design interface. It looks really nice, very #materiyolo.
So far, it seems to be just the UI that has been changed. It has all the animations and icons you'd expect from a proper material app.
Believe it or not, a lot of Android fans were happy to see Apple announce its new Apple Pay system with the iPhone 6. Thanks to its reliance on NFC technology (welcome to 2011, Cupertino!) and Apple's famous marketing muscle, it meant that NFC payments might finally start taking off, particularly in the US. The same NFC-equipped registers that work with Apple Pay generally work with Google Wallet as well.
Then popular drugstores CVS and Rite-Aid started blocking Apple Pay, which apparently means blocking all NFC payments, including Google Wallet.
While developers from a startling number of countries can post apps to the Google Play Store for users around the world to download, setting up the infrastructure for these developers to sell paid apps - and more importantly, to get paid for their apps - isn't quite so widespread. Today Google is opening up Google Wallet Merchant registration to eight more countries, allowing developers in those countries to get paid in their local currency.
Google has updated its support pages and started sending out emails to alert users of Google Wallet to an upcoming change in the way NFC payments work. As of April 14th, tap and pay will require KitKat or higher. Older devices will no longer be supported after that date.
The reason for the change is Google's desire to only use Host Card Emulation (HCE) to make NFC payments work. That feature was introduced in Android 4.4, so it's the end of the line for Jelly Bean and earlier devices.