Google Wallet: Five Serious Problems and Five Ways to Fix Them

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-12-06 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: Google Wallet won't be available on the Galaxy Nexus, making some wonder if the mobile payment service's prospects aren't as bright as the search giant would have us believe.

When the Samsung Galaxy Nexus launches later this month on Verizon Wireless' network, don't expect the device to come with Google Wallet support. According to the latest reports, the device won't allow users to make payments from the smartphone with Google's service, potentially paving the way for more carriers to make similar decrees with other devices as they push to implement their own near-field communication and mobile payment applications.

For Google, the reported ban is just the latest issue its mobile-payment system has faced since its launch earlier this year. From a short list of devices that can or will eventually be able to support the technology to tenuous relationships with merchants and credit card companies, Google Wallet seems destined for the junk heap before it even has a chance to get off the ground. Worst of all, Google doesn't appear ready to address the problem as effectively as it could.

But luckily for the search giant, there is a way out. And all it'll need to do is read on to find out what that way out is.

Issue 1: Carriers Obviously Don't Like It

Google has a major problem on its hands if carriers don't like Google Wallet. A key component in the search giant's plan is getting carriers to sign on. However, many of them already have their own mobile payment systems, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, which have Isis. As long as carriers don't like Google Wallet-and try to block it-the service will be in trouble.

Issue 2: Consumer Knowledge Is Low

Looking around the consumer market, it's hard to find many people who truly understand how near-field communication and Google Wallet work. That's a major issue for Google. If the search giant can't make consumers believe using Google Wallet to make payments is a good idea, what chance will its service have of ever getting off the ground?

Issue 3: Where Are All the Devices?

Google has promised that all future Android handsets will ship with near-field communication technology. However, what the company hasn't said is that there are hardly any devices in the offing that people actually want that will come with support for Google Wallet. Combine that with limited carrier support, and Google Wallet might have some rough days ahead.

Issue 4: Everyone Has an Ulterior Motive

As noted, Verizon has Isis, a solution that competes with Google Wallet. But it's not just the carrier. Credit card companies, competitors and, in some cases, even service providers are reportedly considering launching a Google Wallet alternative. Next year might be the year of mobile payment applications. For Google, a company with a service that relies upon strong relations with other firms, that is bad news.

Issue 5: The Longer It Takes, the Worse It Is

Google Wallet's opportunity for success is on the clock. Reports have been circling about Apple considering launching a Google Wallet competitor in 2012. If that's the case, Apple is expected to use the data it already has in iTunes to make it easier for users to adopt its service. An Apple mobile payment solution could be the death knell for Google Wallet. So the search giant needs to get its service into the mainstream sooner rather than later. The longer it takes for Google Wallet to win out, the worse it will be for Google.



 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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