Google is pretty famous for launching products and then killing it with something “new” or sometimes just killing it altogether. And this week at Google I/O it brought back an oldie, but a goodie, in Google Wallet. Which was first announced in 2011. So now 11 years later, we’re back where we started.
This is the problem with Google, they decide to make a change to a product and think its a good idea to change the entire name. The process for Google was going from Google Wallet to Android Wallet. Then a few years later, it decided to break up Android Wallet into two apps, Android Wallet and Android Pay. Where Android Pay was the app that you’d use to send money to your friends and Android Wallet was the app you’d use to pay at stores and such.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Google renamed Android Pay and merged Android Wallet into a single app called Google Pay. Okay, this made sense. Since we already had Apple Pay on the iPhone and Samsung had its own Samsung Pay on its devices, thanks to its purchase of LoopPay in 2015 for its MST technology.
So we had Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The naming made sense, depending on the ecosystem. Now in 2022, Google Wallet is back, again.
Google Wallet is going to be a one-stop shop for everything
Google is bringing a bunch of new features to its Google Wallet app this year, and perhaps that’s why they decided to rename it this time. But here’s what’s coming to Google Wallet later this year on Android and Wear OS:
- Ability to store payment cards and make NFC payments at retail locations
- Save electronic event tickets, boarding passes, transit cards and other similar items
- Ability to organize all of your loyalty passes for different stores and merchants
- Store your driver’s license, student IDs, vaccine cards and other important official documents
- Ability to store digital car keys
The last two items on that list are new, and make the app a lot more robust. However, Google likely needs to reengineer the app now, since it needs to be even more secure to hold your driver’s license and car keys. So they figured it was a good time to rename it. Not to mention the fact that Google Wallet does make more sense than Google Pay here, since it is holding everything your wallet would normally hold – except maybe your car keys.
Please Google, just stick to one name
The average consumer does not like change, and when they see their payment app change names *again* they are likely not going to be happy. So just stick with one name for the app. Or you could do like Apple and use the Wallet name for the app and Apple Pay for the actual payment of things at stores and to other people. Basically using them interchangeably.
There’s no reason for all of the flip-flopping on the name for your mobile payments app. We’ve seen four names in the past 11 years, and now finally returning to the original name. Which I do think is the correct name. As Google wants everyone to know it’s available on more than just Android, so it keeps the “Android” out of the name – that’s the reason Android Pay was merged into Google Pay.
At least Google didn’t kill it…
We often times joke about Google killing products when there hasn’t been any updates to it in quite some time. And that’s because they have a history of doing that. Just take a look at the Google Graveyard. So far for 2022, there are 8 things that are being killed off. Now some of these are features and not whole products, but there’s plenty of products over the years too.
Google likes to put all of its time into a product, and then when it doesn’t take off like they would like, they have a habit of killing it. It’s quite common in Silicon Valley actually, but typically with smaller companies. I mean, just take a look at how many messaging apps Google has had since it decided to phase out Google Talk back in 2013. We’ve had Hangouts, Allo, Google Chat, as well as adding messaging to virtually every other product Google has, and they don’t even sync. But that’s a topic for another day.
Google would probably never kill off mobile payments, as that would put them at a major disadvantage to Apple. Many iPhone users use Apple Pay almost daily, if not several times a day. And if Android lost that, plenty of people might make the switch. Instead, Google will likely continue to relaunch its Wallet app in hopes that it does take off one day.