Today is apparently the launch day for Google Wallet – Google’s fourth rebrand of the payment system. Reddit users report that the app has rolled out to them, and a version has appeared on APKMirror to load pages. Google also launched lots of support pages today related to Wallet.
Google Wallet was announced at Google I / O 2022, bringing back the original Google payment product name. Wallet was originally from 2011-2015, then it was Android Pay, then Google Pay in 2018, and now Wallet is back in 2022. Google’s turbulent payment products have never been worse than right now, where that kind of outgoing product, Google Pay, has been on the market for a little over a year.
While the Google Pay brand has been around for more than a year, Google launched a brand new code base in March 2021. This new version of Google Pay used the code base of “Google Tez”, a payment product developed for India. Compared to older Google Pay, New Google Pay had a lot of feature regressions, such as losing support for logging in to multiple devices, no support for multiple accounts, and no compatibility with something that did not have a SIM card, which meant that the Google Pay site had to deprived of functionality.
The rollout of Tez Google Pay was a disaster that started an employee exodus, and the cancellation of public plans to launch Google bank accounts. It’s now a year later, and it seems that most people involved in the Tez Google Pay rollout have left Google, and now the old app is back with a new coat of paint.
The package name for Google Wallet is “com.google.android.apps.walletnfcrel”, which means that Google Wallet is a local upgrade for old The Google Pay app, the one Google forced users in the United States to uninstall about a year ago. It would be great if Google just rolled everything back to the old code base, but that’s not what’s happening, at least not in the US. Internationally, Google has a great deployment plan for Google Wallet. The catastrophic rollout of New Google Pay (Tez) only happened in the US and Singapore, so internationally it’s just the old Google Pay (walletnfcrel), and it’s being replaced by Google Wallet. One app will be able to handle all your Google Payment tasks, such as push-and-pay and send money to contacts.
In the US and Singapore, Google does not seem willing to clean up the mess it made last year, and wants the new Google Pay and Google Wallet apps to live side by side. In all cases, Google Play Services actually handles loss-and-pay, while in the US, New Google Pay handles P2P payments (the feature on which it is exceptionally poor, due to things like no support for multiple accounts). It allows Google Wallet … to display loyalty cards? Be a shortcut to Google Play Services? Wallet does not have much to do right now.
Consequently, there is not much to see in Wallet right now, just a regular NFC card interface, some loyalty cards and a subway card search. The non-monetary parts of Wallet are the things Wallet will focus on in the future. Today, Wallet will scan your email to find membership cards, and my found card I did not even realize I still had, as a Best Buy loyalty card that has not been used for probably 15 years. You can add student ID, COVID-19 vaccination card, subway card, and one day the app plans to support digital driver’s licenses and car keys.
Listing image from Google