Two-and-a-half years after it launched its Android Pay system for mobile purchases, Google is revamping its digital payments platform to make it "simpler, safer, and more consistent" for users.
The company announced today that it is rolling out a new Google Pay app for Android device users that will replace its previous app, Android Pay. It's also giving "a fresh coat of paint" to its seven-year-old peer-to-peer payment system, Google Wallet, now renamed Google Pay Send.
Google first unveiled its new plans for mobile payments in January, and even more updates are in the works, with additional features expected to become available over the next few months.
Google Pay across the Google Ecosystem
The new Google Pay app is part of Google's wider plan to bring mobile payment capabilities to every part of the Google environment, according to Gerardo Capiel, product management director for consumer payments, and Varouj Chitilian, engineering director for consumer payments.
"We're currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you're shopping on Chrome or with your Assistant, you'll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account," Capiel and Chitilian noted today on the Google Blog. "As we continue to expand to even more devices and services, the new app offers an exciting glimpse of what’s to come."
The new Google Pay app features a Home tab that makes it easy for users to view details about recent purchases and find stores and offers for purchase rewards. And the Cards tab provides a hub for information about all of a user's credit and debit cards, active gift cards, and loyalty programs.
Capiel and Chitilian said Google is working with online and offline partners to make Google Pay available at a wide range of locations around the world. Among the places that already support the app are public transit systems in Kiev, London, and Portland, Oregon, with more locations coming soon, they said.
Mobile Payments still Looking To Gain Traction
Like other mobile payment apps, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, Google Pay is aimed at enabling faster and more convenient purchases for people with smartphones. By providing a way to access payment card information without actually having to produce a payment card, such apps also claim to be more secure: users can make purchases by sharing encrypted data that's linked to their payment cards but doesn't reveal actual card numbers to merchants.
Apple was the first major smartphone company to launch a mobile payments system when it released Apple Pay in October 2014. However, such apps have yet to see widespread adoption in the U.S.
In a report released in August, Goldman Sachs noted that weekly usage for Apple's, Samsung's, and Google's payment platforms in the U.S. remained low, even though as many as one-third of smartphone owners were enrolled in one of the systems.
"Despite much publicity upon launch, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay have struggled to gain traction," the report said. "Mobile wallet adoption has been underwhelming to date by nearly every objective standard, including initial penetration of smartphone users and repeat usage rate." The report identified inconsistent support for such systems among retailers as the biggest obstacle to mobile payments.