Now Buy More with Your Phone: Google Upgrades its Wallet

Google just never stops making headlines, does it? The company offers a wide range of services, and some are better known than others. One such service has received quite an upgrade. That service is called Google Wallet.

Just yesterday, I reported on Google’s recent purchase of Wildfire. Andrew also posted about big changes to Google Plus and Blogger. Now Google is touting the changes it made to its app, Google Wallet.

Your Wallet is Your… Phone?

Google has had an app for smart phones for almost a year now that turns your phone into your wallet. You can make all of the purchases you could normally make with your debit or credit cards, except with your phone. Originally, the app only worked on a limited number of phones, with limited carriers, and limited card companies. Of course, Google knew it would have to upgrade Google Wallet to expand the user base and make the app more flexible.

Just yesterday, Google announced they are “releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet.” Talk about an upgrade! Google just took this app from a limited customer base to a customer base limited only by the type of phone they have.

Google has attempted to address any concerns adopting consumers might have for the app. The app now works through secure Google servers, rather than through a storage spot on your phone, thus increasing security. Rachel King at CNet writes, “in the case of a lost or stolen smartphone, the upgraded version of Google Wallet is designed to ensure that users should be able to remotely disable their mobile wallet apps using an online portal.” That should comfort a lot of cautious users. There are still some minor technical issues with how card information is transmitted, but this is nothing that prevents Google Wallet from working safely.

Google Wallet and the Future

If consumers decide to adopt Google Wallet en masse, it will be another victory for Google. The app has a lot of potential. If adopted, consumers will add yet one more service to their everyday set of tools that they rely on—courtesy of Google. The more of those tools that Google controls, the better for them. It’s not clear whether Google would be collecting anonymous data with this app (as it does with many of its services), but if it does, this could also be a treasure trove of information for Google and advertisers.

Only time till tell. I, for one, am definitely curious about the app. If I didn’t have a slow, beat-up, old iPhone 3 (yeah, not even a 3G—I’m so uncool) that I don’t trust, I would probably consider trying this app.

Does your business accept apps like Google Wallet? Would you ever consider using technology like it?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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