When you're itching to try out a new feature on your favorite mobile device, there's little that sucks more than facing a geographical restriction; while your friends abroad are playing with the latest and greatest tech, you're stuck twiddling your thumbs and waiting until the powers that be decide to let you in on the action. Earlier today we noted that one of these restrictions appeared to be lessening, as some Huawei Watch 2 users who were shut out when an update disabled Google Pay (then Android Pay) outside the US and the UK started getting their access back—that was a clue, but not the whole story. Now we've got the complete picture on who's currently able to make Google Pay payments with their smartwatches, as Google confirms official support in Canada, Spain, and Australia.
Formally, Google's payment service was only supported on Android Wear (now Wear OS) devices in the US and the UK, but enforcement seems to have been a little lax, as users in additional nations had been using it for tap-and-pay transactions, no problem. But when Oreo updates started coming down the pike, Google clamped down on regional restrictions, limiting usage to the US and UK.
Today's already a big day for Google smartwatches, as Android Wear becomes Wear OS, but it's extra-special for users in Canada, Spain, and Australia, with Google formally welcoming them to the smartwatch-payment club.
In addition to using NFC-equipped watches to make regular mobile payments, users in Australia can use their Wear OS devices with the Opal ticketing system to pay for single-trip tickets on select rail and ferry lines.
Increasing the list of supported Wear OS Google Pay countries from 2 to 5 is a good start, but we'd sure like to see things extend even further. There's no public ETA for any additional expansion, but Google does say that it's “working to roll out support for more countries soon.”
Finally, if today's news has you feeling the itch to go out and start spreading the good word about Google Pay, there's a little incentive in it for you: Google's launched promotions in both Australia and Canada that reward users with a $10 credit for referring a friend (up to 10, or $100)—and each friend gets $10, too. Both those offers start today and run through May 14.