We know that Android Pay is going to drop any day now, and that means Google Wallet is changing too. The Wallet app will no longer be used for paying in stores, but it will be used to send money. The new Wallet app is now live in the Play Store as a different listing than the existing Wallet app.
Have you opened Google Wallet lately? Yeah, neither have I. But those users who have are seeing a not-so-subtle hint from Google that the service's successor, Android Pay, is almost here. Open the latest version of Wallet and you'll see a banner for Android Pay, which appears to be a server-side push (since there's no corresponding update to the APK). The link goes to a web-based FAQ about Android Pay, mostly outlining the transition from Wallet.
Android Pay has been a hot topic in the last weeks after a series of memos and promotional materials turned up with the supposed August 26th launch date. As it turns out, Google hadn't yet distributed the necessary software to enable Android Pay for use on phones. That changes with version 8.1 of the Play services apk, which began rolling out Friday afternoon. A look around inside of the app also suggests there has been a bit more progress on the long-anticipated Kid Accounts. As of this release, there is also an important change to the convention Google uses for identifying Play services apk variants for different devices.
Android Pay was announced at Google I/O around 3 months ago, and Google has since said we can expect the platform to launch here in the US sometime "later this year." It appears "later" could now be "like, next week," if this notice to employees at a McDonald's location is to be believed.
The August 21st launch for Samsung Pay is wrong, but it's the launch date for the devices (Note and S6 Edge+) - which seems like an honest mistake.
The idea of paying using your phone may be exciting, but that's all it will ever be until more stores start playing along. Today Rite Aid announced that you will soon be able to add its nearly 4600 stores to the list. Starting August 15th, it will accept Google Wallet NFC payments in stores. It will also take tap and pay credit cards.
That's right, it'll be like you're shopping at Walgreens. Remember when Android users got to first play around with mobile payments in 2011?
Gone to wallet.google.com recently? Notice anything... missing? Like most mentions of "Wallet"? If so, you're not the only one! In fact, if you go to payments.google.com, the same page launches. And if you go to your settings on that page, there is a hilariously confusing mix of references to both Google Wallet and Google Payments. For example: there's a toggle box for accepting Google Wallet to receive commercial transactions.
While we've been following this rumor for months now, Google made Android Pay official during today's keynote. We first heard the name back in February, and knew something was coming ever since they acquired the intellectual property of mobile payment competitor Isis, an agreement that would also make Wallet a pre-installed app on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon phones. Though it was announced as part of Android M, it will work on KitKat and newer versions.
Functions new to Android Pay include the ability to tap to pay within apps. For apps that use the Pay API, you will only have to click "Buy with Android Pay" and leave the arduous typing of numbers and addresses to the automated system.
The Chrome blog has announced that version 43.0.2357.38 of the browser is being released to the beta channel on the Play Store. This update introduces the usual panoply of bug fixes and performance improvements — which seem to be quite effective this time around — along with a new feature. When purchasing an item, the process of filling checkout forms should be more streamlined and secure thanks to data from Google Wallet.
Another visual change has been implemented in this version as well. Previously, when you had your Chrome tabs merged with Recents, the status bar would take the header color specified by the site (for example, it's blue on Android Police, orange on APK Mirror), but other sites would keep a black bar.
According to a Yahoo Finance exclusive, Google Wallet is now a little bit safer. Yahoo Finance reports that Google Wallet balances are now FDIC-insured, and that Google is accomplishing this by storing Wallet balances in FDIC-insured banking institutions. For reference, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures a depositor's funds for banking institutions up to $250,000.
As Yahoo Finance points out, services like Wallet, Paypal, or Venmo are considered "non-banking institutions," meaning that they aren't legally required to be federally insured, and indeed Paypal and Venmo currently aren't (though Paypal does offer its own account protection measures).
The report also notes that Google Wallet's current user agreement says balances are not FDIC-insured, but that "a Google spokesperson confirmed in a statement to Yahoo Finance that its current policy has changed."
Ultimately it seems as though Wallet's FDIC insurance will be of little consequence to users, except that it provides peace of mind in case the worst should happen.