Today is apparently launch day for Google Wallet—the fourth rebrand of Google’s own payment system. Users on Reddit report that the app has rolled out for them, and a version has popped up on APKMirror if you want to sideload. Google also launched a ton of Wallet-related help pages today.
Google Wallet was announced at Google I/O 2022, and brings back the original Google Payments product name. Wallet was originally around 2011-2015, then it became Android Pay, then Google Pay in 2018, and now Wallet is back in 2022. Google’s turbulent payment products are no worse than now, with a variety of outgoing products, it’s been just over a year since Google Pay hit the market.
While the Google Pay brand has been around for over a year, Google released an entirely new codebase in March 2021. This new version of Google Pay used the codebase of “Google Tez”, a payment product developed for India. Compared to the old Google Pay, the new Google Pay had several feature regressions, such as losing support for logging in across multiple devices, no support for multiple accounts, and no compatibility with anything that didn’t have a SIM card. , which meant the Google Pay website had to be removed from functionality.
The rapid Google Pay rollout was a disaster that set off an employee exodus, and quashed public plans to launch Google bank accounts. It’s now a year later, and it looks like most of those involved in the fast Google Pay rollout have left Google, and now the old app is back with a fresh coat of Paint.
The package name of Google Wallet is “com.google.android.apps.walletnfcrel”, which means that Google Wallet is an in-place upgrade old Google Pay app, one Google forced users in the US to uninstall about a year ago. It would be great if Google rolled back everything in the old codebase, but that’s not happening, at least, not in the US. Internationally, Google has a great rollout plan for Google Wallet. The disastrous new Google Pay (Tez) rollout only happened in the US and Singapore, so internationally there’s only the old Google Pay (WalletnFrail), and it’s being replaced with Google Wallet. One app will be able to handle all your Google Payments duties, such as tap-and-pay and sending money to contacts.
In the US and Singapore, Google is unwilling to clean up last year’s mess and wants the new Google Pay and Google Wallet apps to go alongside each other. In all cases, it’s actually Google Play Services that handles tap-and-pay, while in the US, New Google Pay will handle P2P payments (a feature that’s exceptionally bad, as there’s no multiple account support). Is). This leaves Google Wallet to show… loyalty cards? Be a shortcut to Google Play Services? Wallet doesn’t have much to do right now.
As a result, there’s not much to see in Wallet right now, just a generic NFC card interface, a few loyalty cards, and a Metro card search. The non-money parts of the wallet are the things that the wallet will focus on in the future. Today, Wallet will scan your email to find membership cards, and I found cards I didn’t even know I still had, like a Best Buy loyalty card that hasn’t been used for maybe 15 years. You can add student IDs, COVID-19 vaccination cards, Metro cards, and someday, the app plans to support digital driving licenses and car keys.