A Year Later, Google Wallet Is Nowhere – Here's Why

android, google wallet, sept 2011, bi, dng

Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

As of April 22 there will be a grand total of two smartphones capable of running Google’s mobile payments service, Google Wallet: the Nexus S 4G and the Galaxy Nexus.That’s it.

It’s been almost a year since Google Wallet was introduced and about seven months since it went live.

Click here to see how Google Wallet works >

Yet the service is still limited to one carrier partner (Sprint) and one smartphone line. (Google’s own Nexus phones).

What’s the hold up?

Not much has changed since the minor spat between Google and Verizon around the time of the Galaxy Nexus launch last year.

A quick history lesson: Shortly before the Galaxy Nexus launched, word came out that Google Wallet would not be available on the device. This angered a lot of Android fans who expected to get the app on their phone. Instead, Verizon said it wouldn’t support Google Wallet. Meanwhile, Google promised to keep trying to get the app on more devices and carriers.

We’re told by a source familiar with Google Wallet’s plans that nothing has changed between Google and Verizon regarding mobile payments. Why? Because Verizon, along with AT&T and T-Mobile, have plans for their own mobile payments service called Isis.

In fact, we’re told that those three carriers could be announcing the Isis launch very, very soon.

That puts Google in a sticky situation. The nation’s two largest carriers (AT&T and Verizon) along with T-Mobile aren’t very likely to allow Google Wallet any time soon, for fear of Google’s service eating into Isis. 

Plus, Sprint offers plenty of Android phones with hardware that can support Google Wallet, but it seems like those manufacturers aren’t keen to sign on just yet.

In the meantime, a handful of Googlers on the Wallet team have either left for other companies (like hot mobile payments startup Square) or moved on to another part of Google.

We think Google Wallet is a neat service. It, or a similar service, could easily become the new norm for paying for stuff.

In the meantime, we’re doubtful it can ever really get off the ground.

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