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[I/O 2015] Android Pay Is Now Official, Will Be Available For KitKat And Newer Devices

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.

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Official: Google Acquires Softcard's Technology, Wallet Will Be Preloaded On AT&T, T-Mobile, And Verizon

After several weeks of rumors, Google has announced their partnership with Softcard. The purpose of this venture is to combine forces with Google Wallet, which has been around since 2011 but never enjoyed wide usage. With Apple Pay having recently entered the fray, Google apparently felt the time is now to get their service back on the map. Buying their competitor Softcard's technology, though, is just the beginning.

In addition to gaining Softcard's back end, Google Wallet will soon be preloaded on all phones sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the United States.

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Google Rumored To Be Considering Buyout Of Softcard (Formerly Isis)

According to the latest rumors circulating in Silicon Valley, Google is mulling a possible acquisition of NFC payment provider Softcard. Perhaps that name doesn't sound familiar—it used to be Isis until that unpleasantness in the Middle East forced a name change. Apparently those mega-creepy ads didn't do the trick because the rumors point to a very low sale price.

2015-01-16 17_05_43-Tappy Takes the Big Stage at McDonald's - YouTube

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[Update: 4 Sites Unblocked] Indian Government Blocks At Least 32 Websites For Hosting Pro-ISIS Content, Including Github, Archive.org, Vimeo

In a move that is both troubling and confusing, India’s Department of Telecom has compelled ISPs to block a group of popular websites at the DNS level. While the initial reasoning was unknown, it has since been reported that this ban is due to the websites allegedly playing host to content favorable to the terrorist group ISIS. The banned list includes many popular and largely non-political sites like Github and Vimeo.

Banned sites include Github, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Archive.org, and Pastebin. The entire purported list of blocked URLs is below from Pranesh Prakash.

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Tweets from a senior official of India’s ruling party read,

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Android And iPhone Fans Can Finally Agree On One Thing: The New CurrentC Mobile Payment System Sucks

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.

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Then popular drugstores CVS and Rite-Aid started blocking Apple Pay, which apparently means blocking all NFC payments, including Google Wallet. It turns out that a cabal of US retailers are already working on a proprietary mobile payment system, CurrentC.

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Isis Mobile Wallet Is Now Softcard, After Changing Its Name To Avoid Association With The Other ISIS

I've only spent a small amount of time taking business classes, and none of them were for marketing. But I have to imagine that somewhere in those big, expensive textbooks, when instruction young minds how to promote a product, is the lesson "don't associate with bloodthirsty terrorists." The electronic mobile payment consortium Isis, wishing to completely and totally distance itself from the ISIS currently holding large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, is changing its name to Softcard.

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Regular readers of this blog will recognize Isis as the joint effort between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon to create a standard for paying for physical goods with Android phones.

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Isis Mobile Wallet Is Now Seeking A New Name To Avoid Being Confused With Terrorists

Isis Mobile Wallet may have developed somewhat of a bad rep around these parts because it was the carrier-approved NFC payment alternative to Google Wallet, but no matter how many negative insults a few tech geeks have lobbed at it over the past few years, nothing has shaken the company quite like what the acronym ISIS is more commonly associated with these days - the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The force has swept across parts of both Middle Eastern countries, expanding its reach with the use of violence against civilians and government forces alike.

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We tech journalist don't have to wade far into the waters of international politics to convey just how unwanted of an association this is for a mobile payments company that merely wants to help you spend money by tapping your phone against things.

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PSA: Google Wallet 'Tap And Pay' Functionality Appears To Be Working On Most KitKat Updates For Devices On Isis Carriers

As Android 4.4/KitKat updates begin rolling out to devices on all the major US carriers, one frequently asked question has to do with whether or not these devices will include Android's new "Tap and Pay" feature. This was one of the major additions in KitKat and allows almost any device with an NFC chip to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if said chip doesn't have a built-in secure element. This means that Google Wallet's tap and pay feature, which has historically been disabled on most Android devices save for carrier-independent Nexus/GPE devices, and select Sprint phones, will now work just fine regardless of device or carrier.

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[Deal Alert] Get 20% Cash Back On Purchases With ISIS Mobile Wallet On Eligible Android Phones

Most US carriers eschewed Google Wallet in favor of ISIS, which has only just arrived after years of waiting. Totally reasonable, right? In an apparent effort to smooth things over, ISIS is offering 20% cash back on purchases, but it takes some setup.

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ISIS Mobile Wallet Finally Launches On Verizon, AT&T, And T-Mobile, Probably Wasn't Worth The Wait

Remember when everyone was pissed off that the Verizon version of the Galaxy Nexus couldn't use Google Wallet because of "security concerns"? ISIS Mobile Wallet, the alternative carrier-sponsored NFC payment system (and the reason that last sentence was equipped with sarcastic quote marks) is finally available, just two years after Google Wallet was coincidentally blocked by the carriers that are pushing ISIS. Nice work there, fellas.

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ISIS has been in a beta testing mode in limited markets for just over a year - the necessary Android apps have been available on the Google Play Store since then.

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