Continuing with its policy of ‘fragmentation and consolidation’, Google announced that it is merging Google Wallet, Android Pay and a myriad of other services under a single platform.
In a company blog post, VP of product management for payments Pali Bhat described this as more of a rebranding than a change to the underlying products or technology. He said the products being brought together include Android Pay (Google’s mobile payments and loyalty platform) and Google Wallet (its peer-to-peer payments app).
“With Google Pay, it’ll be easier for you to use the payment information saved to your Google Account, so you can speed through checkout with peace of mind,” Bhat wrote. “Over the coming weeks, you’ll see Google Pay online, in-store, and across Google products, as well as when you’re paying friends.”
As of now, Google has announced a few initial partners which include Airbnb, Dice, Fandango, HungryHouse, and Instacart. Considering Android and Google’s reach that number is expected to grow significantly.
What about Google Tez?
How does all of this affect Google Tez, the UPI based payments platform that Google has pushed in India? The company’s post only makes a brief and vague mention that “We will also be bringing these experiences to Tez users in India—stay tuned.”
When reached out, a Google spokesperson for India said that Tez will be unaffected by the announcement but will be bringing all the additional Google Pay functionality to India’s users, developers, and businesses through Tez.
Tez at present uses the Unified Payments Interface which is an interoperable payment system. Google Pay seems like it will be its own sandbox integrated with a user’s bank account, credit and debit cards. This will necessitate them to remain separate.
Google’s myriad of similar services
This should make making purchases and payments through Google less confusing — if you’ve saved your payment information on your Google account, you don’t have to worry which app to use to access that information, because it’s all under Google Pay now.
In the past, Google has launched multiple competing services in the same space as payments, messaging (any Google Wave fans?), voice calling and even operating systems. Unsurprisingly this has led to confusion and fragmentation.
Ars Technica highlights this baffling tendency in its report, “By our count, this is Google’s fifth payment brand. Google Checkout was Google’s PayPal competitor. Google Wallet was the first NFC payment system for smartphones, and later it was rebranded to Android Pay with the Wallet sticking around as a P2P payment system. Android Pay is currently Google’s primary payment brand.