New Google Wallet version may support multiple OSes
A new version of Google Wallet is in the works and while few details about it are available, it appears that it will support multiple phone operating systems.
Google solicited invitations from potential users of the new wallet at one of its websites Monday. If you request an invitation, you'll be taken to a screen that asks you what kind of mobile device you use: Android, iOS, or other.
Besides the request for platform choice, no further details about the new wallet were released by Google.
Google Wallet now
Google Wallet currently works on a limited number of phones that run its Android mobile operating system and support near-field-communications technology (NFC).
Since Google introduced its wallet last year, it encountered resistance from some wireless carriers that believe that the technology isn't secure enough. That hasn't deterred the search giant from broadening the wallet's reach through other means. For example, in August, it announced a cloud version of its byte-centric billfold.
After introducing that version, Google said the number of NFC transactions made with the technology doubled during the first six weeks of implementation. What that number might be was not disclosed by Google.
Nevertheless, Google acknowledges that acceptance of mobile payments by consumers isn't something that's going to happen overnight. "We didn't think NFC was just going to happen in a single year," said Osama Bedier, Google's vice president of wallet and payments, in a recent session at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in San Jose, California. "This is a three-to-five-year game."
When it first introduced its cloud wallet technology, Google added two new features to address some concerns of security critics.
One moved the storage of payment-card numbers from phones to Google's cloud. The other allows users to lock their phones from the cloud. It's possible that additional security features could be added to the new version of the wallet to make it more attractive to carriers.
However, it remains to be seen if anything Google does will enamor its wallet with some carriers. As it invited consumers to try the new version of its wallet, three major carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless—announced that Isis, a mobile payment system for Android devices that they back, launched Monday in two test cities, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas.
Google also announced Monday on Twitter that the wallet would be available to subscribers of MetroPCS who also are owners of Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones.
No-contract wireless carrier MetroPCS announced last week that it would begin offering the S3 to its subscribers for $499.
However, those subscribers will be able to take advantage of the carrier's pay-as-you-go plans which range from $30 to $70 a month.