Google Wallet

Google Wallet gains a startup, loses co-creator to Square

Google Wallet has had a rocky time in the last few months, and a pair of happenings today give it one step forward and one step back. Good news first: Google has acquired TxVia, a company that specialized in electronic payment systems. At the same time the NFC Times reports Google engineer Rob von Behren has jumped ship to rival mobile payment company Square, according to his own LinkedIn profile. Behren was one of two Google employees who created the Wallet NFC payment system.

Google rethinking Wallet strategy, may share revenue with carriers

Google Wallet hasn't had an easy start. Despite becoming the de facto standard for payment in the Android Market/Google Play Store, its adoption with consumers and retailers for NFC-based payments is effectively nil, with CitiBank and Mastercard being the only non-carrier infrastructure partners of note. The fact that the service has suffered multiple privacy scares and a short feature outage doesn't help. So it's no surprise when Bloomberg reports that Google's top brass is reevaluating their strategy, with the possibility of adding a revenue share system for the carriers that support it.

Google Wallet re-enables prepaid cards, tossed users $5 for the trouble

Amid a slew of privacy and security scares last month, Google disabled the use of prepaid debit-style cards via Google Wallet. After various updates (with a few key security tweaks) the feature is back, none the worse for wear. Of course, that and five bucks will get you a Starbucks coffee... so Google  did Wallet users all a solid and added $5 to their balance. Google's probably one of the only companies in the world with both the spare cash and the inclination to do something like that - and besides, it'll probably cut down on the likelihood of a class-action lawsuit being filed. Probably.

European Android developers left unpaid and angry

In what seems to be a massive oversight on Google's part, developers from all over Europe are reporting that their expected Android Market/Google Play Store payments for early March have not been delivered. Though the payments are marked as delivered in the internal developer systems, the money simply isn't appearing in developers' accounts. Those who have reached out to Google directly via developer support channels have thus far been met with silence. After almost a week of reports in the Google Checkout help section, the primary complaint thread has hundreds of replies.

Juniper predicts NFC payments to hit $74 billion by 2015

Do you have Near Field Communication (NFC) built into your device? Probably not. But that doesn't really matter, because the future of smartphones has NFC well under its wing. At the moment, you'll find that very few devices (such as the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus) are NFC compatible, thus making Google Wallet still relatively new to the public. Despite its unpopularity, Juniper research predicts NFC payments will hit $74 billion by the time 2015 rolls around.

Reuters: App developers will soon be forced to use Google Wallet for in-app payments

Disturbing news out of Reuters' business division: reports are coming in that Google is telling major Android Market/Google Play developers to adopt Google Wallet for in-app purchases, or be removed from Android's official app distribution platform. Major developer Papaya Mobile told Reuters that Google sent them an email in August that they had to switch from their current payment system or be booted off the Android Market. Google declined to comment on the story.

Google Wallet now displays warnings for rooted phones

Oh boy. After taking considerable heat from the privacy and security community over cracks in Google Wallet, the company updated the NFC payment app to close a security loophole. That apparently didn't do anything to close the vulnerability for rooted devices, discovered in February. Instead of address the problem for rooted phones, Google seems to be sticking by its recommendation the rooted users not install Google Wallet. In a fit of expediency, they're making sure that root users know their position: Google Wallet now displays an "unsupported device" warning message when run on a rooted phone.

Android applications flaw can allow photo access

Ever wonder if the photos you snapped with your Android device were safe from others to see? Well, I'm sure you hadn't considered it, but it turns out they're not. Developers have the capability to see users photos right after they allow them to access their local information! This little glitch can occur without any notice to the user as well.

Google pushes security fixes for Wallet, Google+, and Authenticator

A few weeks back, a Google Wallet vulnerability was found making both rooted and untampered devices with the application vulnerable to hackers. The crack exposed the PIN within seconds, and was since temporarily patched by Google. This patch disabled the use of prepaid cards, and since then we hadn't heard much on the subject. Google is pushing three security fixes today that not only allow for prepaid card usage with Wallet, but offer core system fixes.
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