Android Pay announced: Let the Google mobile wallet confusion continue

Google was one of the first to launch a widely-accepted mobile payment solution, but no one knew about it and carriers limited its functionality. It doesn't seem like much with change with Android Pay on Android M.

(Image: CNET)

Google I/O started today and as ZDNet's Kevin Tofel wrote Google is trying once again to serve as your digital wallet. The problem is that the new Android Pay service is likely to just continue to confuse the consumer with a number of solutions that all function differently.

Kevin and I have been using Google Wallet for years and it hasn't been easy with carriers getting in the way, Google changing the functionality of Wallet, and inconsistent device support. These issues, combined with very limited marketing of Google Wallet has led to minimal adoption. I don't think anything is really going to change with Android Pay.

Android Pay will soon enter the market while Google Wallet may still be installed on your phone and provide peer-to-peer payment services. Not to mention that Samsung Pay is also scheduled to launch this summer. Future Samsung devices will come with Android Pay and Samsung Pay, each having support for different technologies with Samsung Pay likely to be more broadly accepted.

Indications are that Apple Pay is doing quite well, likely due to the singular platform for all iOS devices and the high level of marketing from Apple. It looks like Google is trying to capitalize on Apple's marketing by naming this new service Android Pay, rather than Google Wallet, but it's going to take a lot more than a similar name to achieve any kind of measurable success.

The new Android Pay service will include merchant reward programs and if your phone has a fingerprint scanner then you can use that to help keep your account secure. I would love to see a service from Google that is easy as Apple Pay, but given Google's track record it's going to take some time to gain my confidence.

Last year I tested both Google Wallet and Apple Pay, finding them both quite easy to use. I haven't used Google Wallet since then, but have continued to use Apple Pay on a regular basis. Will Google ever succeed with a mobile payment/digital wallet solution?