Google has once again update Google Wallet, in this case the improvements are focused on sending money to individuals. Wallet users should receive the update through the week, although many have reported already getting the update pushed to their phones. The ability to send money to any user with a Gmail account is a key feature, especially since this feature loops in with the feature to send money on Gmail. Android users running older version of Android can now enjoy Wallet, if they are running Android 2.3. There is also no longer a requirement for NFC requirement, so you’ll still be able to use the loyalty card feature and send money to individuals even if your phone lacks NFC.
In addition to money transfers and loyalty cards Google appears to be gearing up to release a iOS app for Wallet. The removal of NFC as a key point to the argument for Google making an app for iOS, although you can still pay with NFC if you find a store that supports it. I’ve thought about Google recently purchasing Bump, and if any of the technology from that contact sharing app could go into wallet. What if you just ‘bumped’ your phone against the payment system, and the information transfer the money. This would mean NFC would be not be needed, and more phones could take advantage of mobile payments. In short, Google could integrate Bump technology into Wallet. This would allow for even Windows phones to run Wallet and make mobile payments through the app.
Google however is terrible at updating and releasing apps for their services on iOS. Now I understand they want the best experience to be on Android, but realistically many Gmail, Google Music, and Google Maps users have an iPhone. They want to have a great, effortless time while using Google services. Wallet is free of charge, no processing fees like other money transfer apps, which means Google more than likely wants your spending data to better target ads. This is an incremental update that helps the Wallet app stay relevant, when it has to compete against other apps like Passbook or Iris.
Tell us in the comments below your thoughts on mobile payments, and if you think this update will be useful. Personally I love the idea of mobile payments and wish more stores would support it, but Google’s moving towards a world where anyone can support mobile payments.