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A logo for Google Inc.'s Android operating system is displayed on an advertising sign during the Apps World Multi-Platform Developer Show in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Retail sales of Internet-connected wearable devices, including watches and eyeglasses, will reach $19 billion by 2018, compared with $1.4 billion this year, Juniper Research said in an Oct. 15 report. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Google is placing more emphasis on hardware and voice-controlled assistance, and its payment technology is coming along for the ride. Here's a look at Google's history in mobile payments—what worked, and what got cut over time.
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The Google Inc. Mobile Wallet application for cardless payment is displayed on a smartphone screen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The Mobile World Congress, operated by the GSMA, expects 60,000 visitors and 1400 companies to attend the four-day technology industry event which runs Feb. 27 through March 1. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Wallet 1.0
Google Wallet, as it was first unveiled, had a lot of moving pieces. Though it was announced alongside Google Offers, both functioned as separate apps, allowing each to adapt to the market's needs.
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Alushta, Russia - November 20, 2014: Businessman holding iPhone 6 Space Gray with a set of famous brands of payment system on the screen. iPhone 6 was created and developed by the Apple inc.
Wallet Reimagined
Google failed to get any banks — other than its launch partner, Citi — to go through the hoops required to place their cards in Google Wallet. It also faced resistance from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, which objected to Google's use of the handset's secure element. Google solved both of these problems by switching to Host Card Emulation, a software-based approach to mobile payments.
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Building a Bridge
Google added a plastic card in 2013 as a way to enable consumers to use Google Wallet at stores that don't accept contactless mobile payments. It discontinued the card this year.
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Softcard Falls on Hard Times
The telcos that resisted Google Wallet's first incarnation put forth their own mobile wallet — originally called Isis, then wisely renamed to Softcard — but their project didn't last. Google then bought the assets of Softcard and, in the process, entered a deal to put its own mobile wallet on those telcos' handsets.
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An attendee displays Google Inc. Android Pay icon on a mobile device for a photograph during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2015. Google unveiled payment services, security upgrades and access to HBO movies and shows for its popular Android software, seeking to push back against growing competition from rivals such as Apple Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Android Pay
Google launched Android Pay in 2015 as a streamlined replacement for Google Wallet. It removed P-to-P capabilities and placed those in a stripped-down Google Wallet app, leaving Android Pay to handle in-store and in-app payments.
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An attendee demonstrates Google Inc. Android Pay for a photograph during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2015. Google Inc. unveiled payment services, security upgrades and access to HBO movies and shows for its popular Android software, seeking to push back against growing competition from rivals such as Apple Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Excess Baggage
Android Pay users could still pay with unsupported cards originally enrolled in Google Wallet, but that wasn't meant to be a long-term solution. After Google signed up more bank partners, it announced plans to discontinue support for cards enrolled under the old method.
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