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Google Wallet for iOS can now send money to any contact using just a phone number

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With the rise of contactless payment systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay, the Google Wallet app has needed to reinvent itself somewhat as a peer-to-peer payment system. With the latest update, it’s become a whole lot easier to send money to your friends, family and contacts.

From today, the updated app on both iOS and Android will let you send money to anyone on your contact list, even if you don’t have their email address. You can send money to them using their phone number, and it’s secure and fast.

When you send money to a phone number, the recipient gets a text message containing a secure link. Once they click on the link, they input their debit card details to claim the money and the funds are available in their bank account within a few minutes.

Before today, you could send money to contacts, but you could only do so by using an email address.

This is just one of several new features added to Google Wallet in recent weeks. It’s clear then that the company is working hard to make it a useful app, and one that isn’t made redundant by the arrival of Android Pay, or competitor payment systems like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or *coughs* Walmart Pay. Those improvements include:

  • Improved contact suggestions, so you see the people you send money to most often first
  • A security feature that lets you lock the Google Wallet app with the tap of a button
  • The ability to link a second bank account

You can download the latest update for iPhone from the App Store for free. Apple is rumored to be developing its own peer-to-peer payment feature for Apple Pay in 2016.

Benefits of Apple Pay over CurrentC to retailers highlighted as Whole Foods transactions hit 1%

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Shortly after retail chain Whole Foods announced that it had processed 150,000 Apple Pay transactions in the three weeks since the service was launched – estimated at around 1% of the company’s sales – a business author and senior Hitachi consultant has spoken about the twin attractions of Apple Pay for retailers.

Jim Maholic, author of Business Cases that Mean Business and vice president in Hitachi Consulting, said major retailers had two main reasons to favor Apple Pay over rival mobile payment service CurrentC … 

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Apple Pay pays off for Google Wallet too: users double and payments grow by 50%

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While Apple Pay has grabbed all the attention in the mobile payment field, with the Google Wallet service launched back in 2011 having failed to make the same kind of splash, it appears that Google may be benefiting from the publicity generated by Apple. Sources cited by arsTechnica report that Google Wallet service has seen the number of users almost double, with a 50% increase in weekly transactions during the past couple of months … 

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Google Wallet iOS app adds gift cards, invoicing, ability to send money from debit cards for free

 

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Google today announced new features for its Google Wallet app for both iOS and Android that makes it easier to manage gift cards and request and send from debit cards.

Like Google Wallet already allowed for loyalty cards, the app now lets users store, redeem, and check gift card balance:

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Google Wallet adds “Orders” feature to track online purchases using receipts from Gmail

From 9to5Google:

Google-Wallet-Orders-featureGoogle announced today on its Google Commerce blog that it’s rolling out an update for the Google Wallet mobile apps that includes a new “Orders” feature for tracking online purchases. Google says the feature will let you stay on top of your online orders (including past purchases) as well as get notifications for status updates regarding deliveries. How will Google know what you’ve purchased? In order to track your recent online orders, the feature pulls receipts out of your Gmail account :

Once you activate Orders in Google Wallet, you’ll be able to see any receipts sent to your Gmail right in the Google Wallet app. We’ve also worked with primary package carriers in the US so that when your order status is updated, you’ll get notified of the update through Wallet. So whether your order is shipped, out for delivery, or delayed, you’ll never wonder about the status of your order.

The app also includes “products you’ve ordered, merchant contact information, and shipping details in the app” for your purchases and links to quickly contact retailers.

Google said the feature is rolling out to Android and iOS users in the US this week. You can activate Orders by tapping “Activate” under “Track your orders” or by tapping “Orders” in the app’s main menu.

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Google Wallet iOS app gets loyalty card scanning, notifications for nearby merchants

Google-WalletAfter rolling out the update to Android devices last week, Google today updated its Google Wallet app for iOS with the ability to scan physical loyalty cards. Rather than having to type out your account information to join a new program within the app, scanning a physical loyalty card from a supported retailer will auto-populate your info and automate the process.

The updated app also now includes new notifications for nearby retailers related to loyalty programs you’ve joined. If you’ve joined the Walgreens program, for example, you’ll get notifications reminding you “to shop and earn rewards” when close to a brick and mortar retail location.

The updated Google Wallet iOS app is available on the App Store now.

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Google Wallet for iOS updated with single sign-on, card adding via camera

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Google has updated its Google Wallet application for the iPhone with a few notable enhancements. First, like it has added to its other apps on iOS as of late, Google now allows single sign-on for Wallet. This means that if you are signed in via Google to YouTube, Gmail, Adsense, or other compatible Google apps, you can be automatically logged in to the Wallet app. More interestingly, you can now use your iPhone’s camera to capture the data from your debit card or credit card to connect it to the app. Google added that feature to the Android app last month. Google Wallet recently launched a physical card program for Wallet. The update is free in the App Store.



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Google beats Siri to the Desktop with Google Now-like voice search for Chrome

Google today announced that it is revamping the Google voice search feature available in Chrome on the desktop. While users have always been able to search with their voice through Chrome, Google is attempting to make the service work more like it does through Google Search apps and Google Now on mobile devices.

Chrome will now include “conversational search” with a brand new interface that doesn’t require users to click in order to search with their voice. Like on mobile devices with Google Now, users will now be able to simple say “Google” in order to activate voice search.

Today, we previewed what this conversational experience will look like in Chrome on your desktops and laptops. Soon, you’ll be able to just say, hands-free, “OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?” and get a spoken answer. Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with “how far is it from here?” if you care about the drive or “how about Monterey?” if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer.

The new interface, as pictured above from Google’s demo of the feature, is much like the voice search interface for Google Now on Android devices.

The new feature will be coming to Macs and PCs through Chrome soon.

Google also briefly showed off some new content coming to Google Now including new cards for Reminders, Music Albums, TV Shows, Books, Public Transit, and Video games rolling out today:


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Google announces Google Play game services coming to Android, iOS & web today

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From 9to5Google:

We knew from leaks in the weeks leading up to I/O that Google was planning some gaming related announcements and today the company has officially announced the service in a press release ahead of its Google I/O keynote taking place now. Not only will the service allow Android developers to build in real-time multiplayer, social features, achievements, and leaderboards while storing game saves and settings in the cloud, the SDK for Google Play game services will also be available to iOS and web developers.

Google noted a few titles for Android have already been updated with the feature including World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos.

Not surprisingly, the cross-platform gaming service will also build in Google+ integration to track high scores, achievements and more:

-Achievements that increase engagement and promote different styles of play.

-Social and public leaderboards that seamlessly use Google+ circles to track high scores across friends and across the world.

-Cloud saves that provide a simple and streamlined storage API to store game saves and settings. Now players never have to replay Level 1 again.

-Real-time multiplayer for easy addition of cooperative or competitive game play on Android devices. Using G+ Circles a game can have up to 4 simultaneous friends or auto-matched players in a game session together with support for additional players coming soon.

Google’s full press release below:

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Google teases ‘next version’ of Google Wallet, gauges interest among iOS users

Google is teasing the next version of its Google Wallet service today as carriers team up to launch their own ISIS mobile wallet competitor. What happens when requesting an invite to the new Google Wallet is interesting… Google asks users to select what device they use: Android, iOS, and Other. 9to5Google has the full story.

New iPhone prototypes have NFC chips and antenna

We have previously been able to pull data from PreEVT iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes codenamed “N41AP (5,1)” and “N42AP (5,2)”, which lead us to believe that the new iPhone will have a bigger 1,136-by-640 display. We also detailed a lot of the hardware (here), but we forgot one very important bit of information. Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication controllers directly connected to the Power Management Unit.

The implications are obviously monstrous. With the recently announced PassBook application (which we detailed prior to its announcement while speculating about an NFC tie-in), Apple will be set to compete with Google Wallet and Microsoft’s similar service that unveiled last week. Apple could tie in with a payment processor like Citibank’s PayPass system for credit card transactions—or it could become a payment processor of sorts with its hundreds of millions of credit cards already on file at iTunes.

NFC would also allow iPhone users a quick and easy way to share files from one iOS device to another.

Jim Peters, CTO of SITA, agrees that NFC is coming to iPhone and retailers should prepare…



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