16 Comments

Summary:

Google is talking up the potential for Google Wallet to be more than just a payment tool. Leaders want Google Wallet to be a place to store boarding passes, tickets, identification and gift cards. That was the vision all along but it may be ready soon.

Google-wallet-george-costanza-title

Google is trying to expand the vision for its Google Wallet beyond just a payment and loyalty vehicle into a full-on wallet replacement, where users can electronically stuff all kinds of credentials, cards, tickets and stuff into it. That’s the vision that Robin Dua, head of product management for Google Wallet explained in a developer video, first spotted by MobileBurn.

Dua said Google wants to “electronify” all kinds of credentials, cards and tickets, everything from boarding passes and concert tickets to identification and gift cards. That would make Google Wallet a central hub for users that they can turn to regularly.

“That’s the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device,” Dua said.

Google WalletThis is not exactly new for Google. It advertised Google Wallet’s launch last year with a commercial featuring Seinfeld’s George Constanza and his comically fat wallet. And the company talked about the larger vision of Google Wallet, to hold all kinds of information. But now, it looks like Google may be closer to doing something about it.

Accepting more credentials would pit Google Wallet against other services like Apple’s upcoming Passbook, which will allow users to store boarding passes, reward cards and movie tickets. Lemon, an app that tracks receipts, also expanded its focus and introduced a Smarter Wallet concept, allowing users to store cards, receipts and coupons on their phone. Microsoft is also working toward a similar goal with its Wallet Hub for Windows Phone 8, which will incorporate NFC payments and store deals, loyalty cards and other credentials.

It’s unclear when Google will actually broaden the focus of its Google Wallet. But it’s not surprising. The idea of a wallet is not limited to payments and we’re seeing that there is also value in recreating the other roles that a wallet serves. In fact, payments today is not that bad of an experience for many users. Offering an app that replaces a credit card or cash has only so much appeal, especially when it’s limited to a subset of devices and merchants. But being able to digitize a lot of the other things in a wallet makes the whole proposition of a mobile wallet app more valuable.

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  1. Seems kind of like historical revisionism to me. Google and everyone else was focussed on NFC payment solutions only.

    Apple introduces “Passbook” and all of a sudden a few weeks or months later, Google is doing the same thing. Sure there’s that line about “they were thinking this way all along,” but those are just words.

    1. Yep, it’s ALL because of Apple because NO ONE thought of it before Apple. In fact Google went back in time, after seeing Apple’s Passbook announcement, and posted a blog post in May of 2011 (a WHOLE YEAR BEFORE Apple’s Passbook announcement) saying this is where they were hoping to take Google Wallet.

      Source: http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/coming-soon-make-your-phone-your-wallet.html (3rd paragraph to be specific)

      But you know, it was all Apple’s idea to begin with.

      BTW, I’ve got the Golden Gate Bridge for sale if you’d like a piece of that action too.

      1. Appe filed a patent on itravel(aka passbook) way back 2008

        The iTravel patent originally filed in 2008, but only published last July 10, 2012 and Gloria Lin and Amir Mikhak are noted as the inventors.

      2. What are you guys fighting about? I wrote about this wayy back in October of 2005: http://tech.desiblogs.net/2005/10/notes-from-future-my-buddy-1.html . This was long before anyone had even heard of an iPhone. Not only did I describe a smartphone that would be universal wallet, it would also be a universal modem, universal media player, universal remote control (including for things like your home lighting, thermostats, etc.) AND a personal computer similar to the Asus Transformer tablet/laptop with a docking port for the phone.

        My point: most people who have a little imagination and tech knowledge can see where technology trends will eventually go. So, it’s absurd to apply for and be granted patents on ideas. It is absurd to talk about ownership of ideas or dispute who came up with it first. Now, the details of the implementation… that’s a different ballgame.

  2. Barney Stevenson Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    If this is Google’s aspiration, they need to offer phone support as well as 24-hours-to-reply email support.

  3. @Chrysler, Apple & Google didn’t invent the idea of mobile payments or even the idea that data could be stored electronically and retrieved later (which is basically what Passbook is).

    Given the partnerships Google’s got with Google Wallet, they didn’t just turn it on and poof there it was after Apple announced Passbook (or even when they filed the patent).

    Apple didn’t invent the world, neither did Google. Just because Apple filed for a patent doesn’t mean prior art, or other implementations didn’t already exist in some form, either publicly or within another company’s R&D department. Filing for a patent doesn’t mean you invented something (Apple didn’t invent Multi-touch, there’s at least 1 TED video that predates the iPhone that demonstrates this tech, not to mention a scholastic paper that describes it, also predating the iPhone, yet they have a patent for it), filing a patent just means you filed the paperwork first and patents can be invalidated when challenged (see Oracle vs. Google as a nice example).

    People want to make stuff like this all about one company copying the other when really it’s just a case of “great minds think alike.” Is there copying going on? Yes, but almost all companies copy each other, it’s just a fact of life. But not everything is copying, some of it really just is everyone trying to get to something first.

    1. I just replied to your former post. What where you implying is that Google already thought of this way back 2011 a year before the Passbook announcement.
      I replied with “Apple already had a patent filed from 2008″

      You probably didn’t know that Apple had filed a patent long time ago.

      Then here you are making all this drama saying Apple didn’t invent the world blah blah…

      Apple isn’t saying they invented it. They simply took the concept and implement it as a passbook.
      So what was the original inventor of electronic documents did after? Hmm nothing? It’s just right there.

      Now apple took the concept of electronic documents and made an app with geo location base, auto updating information, etc….

      Then here comes google DOING exactly what Apple has done.
      It’s just like Samsung. They copy and put their name on it.

      Good artist copy(Samsung,google)
      Grat artist steal (apple) (taking the idea of others then improve it and finally implement it like nobody have ever done before)

    2. fingerworks is the company that did the Ted talks multitouch video you are referring to, as well as the academic papers you refer to, – apple acquired fingerworks in 2005!

  4. Chrysler Lorenz Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    If you still don’t get it, it’s like this….

    Apple didn’t invent the mp3 yes
    But they took the idea of listening to a music on a portable device and made an iPod. iPod whith wheels, track listing, cover flow, spacious capacity….it then became a household name

    What did Samsung do?.
    Copied the iPod touch outright.

    Gets?
    Here’s another one. Apple didn’t invent the tablet idea. They took the concept and made a newton. Then after that they created the ipad. What do we have before the ipad? A dying palm.

    What did Samsung, google, etc do?
    Replicate it.

    Apple didn’t invent the phone.
    Apple took the concept of a phone a created the iPhone. Look at the phones before iPhone.then look at where they are now.

    What did Samsung and the gang do?
    Rip off the iPhone and put their name on it.

  5. Will not work.
    Too many securty issues.
    5% of smartphones are lost every year
    vs .5% for wallets

  6. Cayce Pollard Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    “5% of smartphones are lost every year
    vs .5% for wallets”

    What an interesting statistic. Where does it come from?

    1. To be fair, stats are a lot more useful (and fun!) when you can just cold make’em up.

      Having said that, if anybody wants to cook up a stat that reveals over 155,000 wallets lost each year, the math actually kinda works. It’s probably a lot more accurate than we’re treating it, even if Ravi’s just goofin.

  7. Are consumers ready and trusting enough of the digital wallet to replace their leather wallet entirely? With the security issues with mobile phones, I love the idea, but just not sure we have a secure enough solution today.

  8. @Chrysler Lorenz – The way you describe the act of copying, it woud seem apple would never put NFC payment capability in its passbook since it would amount to “copying” google wallet? Your reasoning is full of crap…and its people like you in the jury and patent offices due to which companies like Apple can do no wrong.

    @A S – totally agree with you that ideas cannot be patented.

  9. Its one thing for Google to collect information and track my internet habits and another thing for me to willingly provide Google with any of my financial data given their security measures they have in place and the trouble they’ve had with the FTC. As it is, their trying to secure new people to head their security departments.

    1. Spot on! not to mention side problems as 2 hours lasting batteries, phone theft, no roaming, no network coverage, etc etc

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