Google is launching an attack against Apple that will see its Wallet service, first introduced in 2011, go up against the rapidly growing Apple Pay. The search giant on Monday announced Google Wallet will come pre-installed on all Android phones found on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon “later this year.” The deal is an obvious attempt to quell the hype surrounding Apple’s own payment service, which has grown in mindshare (and usage) since being introduced last year.
The news also sees Google acquire technology and intellectual property from Softcard (formerly ISIS) in an effort to grow and make Google Wallet better. Softcard, announced in 2010, began as a joint venture between the three aforementioned carriers, but it didn’t really catch on among mobile users; the same can be argued about Google Wallet, which has spent years on the market to tepid success. It’s a great service, but the mindshare isn’t anywhere close to Apple Pay.
Google Wallet’s revival has been hinted at for awhile now, and today’s news is a major move on Google’s part. Every device running Android 4.4 (KitKat) and up will sport the new software, which, let’s face it, will be a lot of phones. But that’ll just be here in the U.S., where Apple Pay is miles ahead of Wallet in terms of popularity. I just wonder how OEMs will feel about an extra app being pre-installed on their devices; these carriers are notorious as it is for pre-installing bloatware.
NFC-based payments have been around for years already, but Apple Pay has shown competing services how it’s done. In addition to Google, Samsung is also getting into the mobile payment game, as the company just recently acquired LoopPay.