Google Wallet

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.

Surprise: you don’t need root to break into Google Wallet after all

So there's some considerable hubbub surrounding Google Wallet at the moment, after an independent security researcher was able to create a rooted app that bypasses the PIN lock in the software. You can see Google's official response just a few stories down. But now another party, the self-styled Smartphone Champ, has discovered another way to get into a private Google Wallet account, no root required. Technically this is more of a lopphole than a crack, if only because it uses Android's default setting to achieve access. The gist is that all you need to do to wipe the security PIN is to delete the app's stored data via the Settings menu, essentially resetting it to the state it was in when you downloaded it from the Android Market. This is a common Android function and is even recommended sometimes when an app is misbehaving. Wipe the data, re-launch the app, and you (or anyone who has your phone) can access Wallet, associate it with your Google account (without entering a password) and set up a new PIN. Then they can spend the money at any online or retail store that accepts Google Wallet - all without root. Watch as Hashim demonstrates: [youtube Rh1ytHrhj2E] This is a much bigger problem than the previous leak, because anyone with physical access to your phone has the ability to do this quickly and easily. The problem lies with Google Wallet's authentication system: though funds are added into your account and virtually "kept" by Google, the authentication is linked to a single device, not your account. Compare this with any banking app, which keeps your account password connected to your username. Odds are overwhelming that Google will address this loophole very soon. In the meantime, the best way to stay protected while using Google Wallet is to set up a PIN or lock pattern on your device itself - without the PIN or pattern, a thief would have to completely wipe your phone to access any apps or data. [timeline] [via 9to5Google, via AndroidandMe]
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