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.
This 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.