Those that said Google Wallet was dead, might want to back track. Today, Google announced that they have inked a deal with some of the mobile carriers here in the US. Mainly T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, to pre-install the Google Wallet app on all of their Android smartphones. That’s a pretty big deal, as it gets the Google Wallet app into more eyes, and hopefully more users. But that’s not all that’s part of this deal. Google is also buying some intellectual property from Softcard which was formerly named ISIS. This is the mobile payments system that these three carriers were backing in the first place. Sprint is absent because they were already pre-installing Google Wallet and supporting it. From Google’s blog post announcing the deal:
“So today, we’re excited to announce that we’re working with AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, as well as their mobile payments company Softcard, to help more Android users get the benefits of tap and pay. Under this relationship, the Google Wallet app, including the tap and pay functionality, will come pre-installed on Android phones (running KitKat or higher) sold by these carriers in the US later this year. We’re also acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better.”
Definitely exciting to see what Google can do with Google Wallet, as it’s been pretty much dead for a few years now. But with Apple Pay gaining momentum, this might be the perfect time for Google to really get serious about Google Wallet. They haven’t been too forthcoming with what kind of intellectual property they are grabbing from Softcard, but it sounds like some new technology they can integrate into Google Wallet.
In Softcard’s blog post, they stated that their users will be able to use their app for now. However, that will likely change in the next few months as more and more of Softcard gets built into Google Wallet. It’s tough to think that Softcard’s app will continue to get updated after Google buys them.