25 October 2014

Google wallet anniversary falls flat as new software problems emerge

30 May 2012  |  8502 views  |  0 google wallet

The celebrations marking the first anniversary of the launch of Google Wallet promise to be a gloomy affair, with the emergence of a new flaw that disables the wallet functionality following a simple factory reset on NFC-equipped Android handsets.

A factory reset is a fairly common solution deployed by mobile phone users when their apps begin to play up. But for phones with Google Wallet pre-installed, the reset trips the secure element in the device, in the process killing-off the Wallet function.

User forums on the Phandroid fan-site for Android users have begun to buzz with news of the glitch, and Google's failure to address the issue.

The bug is the latest in a string of mishaps to have befallen Google since it launched its mobile wallet at a much-hyped event in New York on 26 May last year.

In February, Google was forced to temporarily disable provisioning of pre-paid cards for the Wallet after researchers found a number of gaping security holes in the application.

At the time of its launch, the search engine colossus billed the event as a tipping point in the development of an open mobile payments platform.

However, despite securing licensing agreements with all of the major card schemes, the company has struggled to win bank, carrier, and merchant support for the project beyond the initial launch partners of Citi and Sprint. Minimal device and terminal support for the wallet has also stalled momentum, while the steady departure of many members of the original launch team has pointed to deeper strategic problems.

Google has reportedly considered sharing revenue generated from mobile payments with carriers, in a bid to get them to support the Wallet, and in April it acquired pre-paid card processor TxVia to beef up its Wallet offering with improved security and transactional analytic functionality.

However, Google's failure to capitalise on its early lead has left the field wide open for a host of competitive offerings from the likes of PayPal with its NFC-lite approach and the Isis consortium of US telcos.

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