Google Wallet got off to a rough start. Carriers didn't want to support it for various reasons, it only worked on certain devices ... it was really just a big mess. As time passed, it didn't get much better, either. Today, however, Google is looking to change everything when it comes to Wallet. It's rolling out v2.0 of the app that brings a slew of new features, as well as making it available for basically all Android phones running Gingerbread (2.3) and higher.
Since its inception, things have been tough for Google Wallet. Adoption hasn't been great, many carriers have blocked its use, and the rollout of new features hasn't gone as smoothly as one would hope. In short, it's been a long, hard road for such an initially promising product.
While we've already seen Google cut support for the prepaid Wallet card, the company has now decided to ax NFC redemption of gift and loyalty cards as of August 21st.
You've probably seen some of those stick-on phone pouches at your local department store. It's a very simple idea: a little nylon pocket with glue on one side, intended to stick to your smartphone and carry credit/ID cards. I've tried several in a never-ending quest to banish my wallet, but they were all cheap, with poor glue and easily-torn material. Then I chanced $12.99 on the Sinji Pouch.
This little guy has changed my daily routine for the better.
Update: Director of Product Management for Google Wallet Peter Hazlehurst dropped by our comments section below to confirm that Wallet is not compatible with the new Nexus 7 for the same reason as the HTC One Play Edition – the device does not carry a secure element, the small bit of hardware required to store encrypted card credentials on a device. This is required in order for Wallet to function, well, securely.
Peer-to-peer fund transfers using an online service are nothing new – Paypal's been successfully doing it for years, and that's how AP writers have been getting paid since the site was launched. Needless to say, when Google announced payments through Gmail (which uses Wallet), it seemed like a no-brainer – we all have Google accounts, so this would be an ideal way to get paid.
Wrong. Getting paid through Wallet has been the absolute worst experience I've ever had with a money transfer, and I'm not alone here – this has been an incredibly frustrating experience for at least half of our team.
Google's Wallet-powered peer-to-peer payment service launched to rival Paypal was announced on May 15th and came with an interesting promotion: waived fees for transfers funded by credit cards. This promotion was recently (possibly today) adjusted quite drastically, and now only payments less than $250 aren't charged fees. Additionally, we now know that the promotional period ends on June 29th.
Left: terms before; Right: current terms
Typically, credit card-funded transfers are charged a fee of 2.9% with a minimum of $0.30, but for a previously undefined "limited time," Google decided to foot the bill in hopes of attracting initial users.
One of the cooler new features of both Gmail and Google Wallet that didn't make it into today's three-hour Google I/O keynote is the new ability to send money to any Gmail contact. Just message or reply to someone, write something along the lines of "here's your money, dog," and click the Attachments paperclip icon. You'll see a new option among the expanding icons: a dollar sign. Click the dollar sign, and you can send funds straight from Google Wallet.
People in the UK have long been able to purchase apps and other goodies from the Google Play store using traditional methods, but as of yet there hasn't been an option to buy gift cards for redemption online like you can with other stores.
Fortunately, it looks like that could soon be changing; the Google Play redeem page now allows you to enter a redemption code from a gift card, although you can't actually buy the cards in shops yet.