Can the search engine giant make a leap with its payment tool by adding it to the wearable device?
Google recently reported that it is testing possibilities of incorporating Google Wallet in to Google Glass which is set to be launched soon. According to the sources, this would enable the Glass users to transfer money through the wallet with a simple voice command “Send Money”. With Google’s recent move of enabling a similar facility for Gmail users, this would be an additional access medium to the money transfer facility.
In order to install the wallet service to the Glass, users are currently required to log in to a computer on Google’s corporate network. Thereafter, users could install the wallet to the wearable device to set up to transact. Google is expecting to charge 2.9% of the transaction value or 30 Cents (whichever is higher) for these money transfers. Currently this would facilitate transfers up to $10,000 per transaction and $50,000 over a period of five days.
What is Google Wallet?
Google wallet is a virtual mobile wallet which stores payment information securely and enables users to make speedy payments both in store and online. Google wallet users can store their credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards in this wallet and make payments using their mobile phones. The wallet uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which enables users to make the payment by simply tapping the phone on the enabled check out terminals.
Google’s tough journey with the wallet
Since launch of the application in 2011, similar to other mobile wallet service providers, Google also has faced with many challenges with regards to user adoption to the service. Though Google has been able to create awareness about the service, active usage has been at low levels due to various reasons. Realizing the growth potential of mobile payments market, Google has tried various different approaches to improve user adaption and seems to be continuing it with this latest move. The approaches have mainly been through using tactics of improving access medium and promoting individual service functionalities.
Google wallet is the second popular digital wallet in US after PayPal
Inconsistency among retailers, lack of awareness on availability of the service at retail points and less usage of the mobile for payments were few key challenges Google faced with the service. In order to overcome these barriers, in late 2012 Google introduced a physical Google wallet card to its customers. This enabled users to link all other major credit, debit and loyalty cards to this and use at any accepted outlet.
In addition to facilitating payments, peer to peer money transfer is a key feature of a mobile wallet service. Google launched this service by enabling it to Gmail users in May 2013. The service was structured by linking the wallet to a bank account or a credit card. Fund transfers between users were made free of charge.
Considering the financial aspect of wallet project, there has been many serious concerns as Google had made significant investments to employ hundreds of dedicated developers and acquire digital payment start-ups but failed to make expected returns. Analysis conducted in mid-2013 revealed that Google was losing money on every transaction. The head of wallet business Osama Bedier also left the company last year and Google abandoned several projects related to the wallet.
Considering the current stance of the concept, building the ecosystem around the wallet remains as a priority for Google as pressures from Apple is also likely to occur with its intentions to enter the mobile payments market. Mobile payments market is growing rapidly across the world and in US it is expected to reach $90 billion by 2017.
It would be interesting to study the progress of the wallet with its introduction to Google Glass as it enables greater convenience to transact. However, making a leap with this would be questionable as the wearable device would reach the mass with various other new functionalities.