Google Wallet never caught on like Google had hoped but the company now thinks it’s found the secret recipe for giving it fresh life: Partnering with mobile carriers and buying up parts of their own SoftCard platform to integrate with Google Wallet.
SoftCard, which was formerly known as Isis before its owners wisely decided they didn’t want to be associated with the world’s most infamous group of murderous religious fanatics, was even less of a hit than Google Wallet has been. Nonetheless, Google says that it is “acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better.”
Additionally, the deal with the carriers ensures that “the Google Wallet app, including the tap and pay functionality, will come pre-installed on Android phones (running KitKat or higher) sold by” AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile from now on.
It will be especially interesting to see if these mobile carriers do promotions for Google Wallet going forward so that more people simply know the service exists on their Android phones. It’s also still an open question on whether smartphone-based mobile payments will really catch on — even though Apple Pay has shown some encouraging early signs, it’ll be a while before we know if it has staying power.