Skip to main content

Google may pay wireless carriers to revive Google Wallet

Google may pay wireless carriers to revive Google Wallet

/

Mo' money, mo' problems

Share this story

Google Wallet has had, at best, a checkered history. Blocked by carriers, it suffered through changing product direction and competition from its own partners. Then, of course, Apple Pay was released and quickly became the leader of mobile payments. So a Wall Street Journal report that says Google is looking to revive Wallet to make it a genuine competitor is no surprise, and neither is it a surprise that in order to make it happen, Google needs to "wrangle" various carrier partners.

What is a surprise are the extreme lengths that the company is reportedly willing to go. The WSJ had earlier reported that Google is considering acquiring Softcard (née ISIS), the mobile payments company that was formed out of a consortium of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. That would be a bold move and signal how much Google is willing to work with those carriers, who to-date have been downright hostile to Google's mobile payments efforts.

Google and the carriers need each other now

But the biggest bombshell is that Google could pay the carriers to "feature Wallet prominently on their Android phones" and may even be willing to share mobile advertising revenue with them as part of a wallet deal. Advertising, of course, is Google's main source of revenue and the idea that Google may be considering sharing it with carriers just to get Wallet going is a sign of just how much leverage these carriers have over the company.

It's not all one-sided, though; the carriers have a vested interested in ensuring that there's a mobile payments solution that's competitive with Apple Pay. Apple doesn't share any of the transaction information (and in fact, it's set up so that Apple doesn't see it in the first place) nor any of the revenue with carriers — and both are potentially sources of a vast amount of money if mobile payments can truly supplant credit cards. Google may be more willing to collect and share both of those things.

So maybe the WSJ's report shouldn't be a surprise after all. As always with mobile payments, it's going to be an insanely complicated dance between partners who might be holding knives behind their backs, but as Apple Pay gains traction it's a dance that neither Google nor the carriers can afford to avoid. We could see something come to pass at this year's Google I/O developer conference.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 1:05 PM UTC Striking out

A
Andrew Webster1:05 PM UTC
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.


E
TikTok
Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.


J
External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.


E
External Link
Insiders made the most money off of Helium’s “People’s Network.”

Remember Helium, which was touted by The New York Times in an article entitled “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All?” Not only was the company misleading people about who used it — Salesforce and Lime weren’t using it, despite what Helium said on its site — Helium disproportionately enriched insiders, Forbes reports.


J
Youtube
James VincentSep 23
Nvidia’s latest AI model generates endless 3D models.

Need to fill your video game, VR world, or project render with 3D chaff? Nvidia’s latest AI model could help. Trained on 2D images, it can churn out customizable 3D objects ready to import and tweak.

The model seems rudimentary (the renders aren’t amazing quality and seem limited in their variety), but generative AI models like this are only going to improve, speeding up work for all sorts of creative types.