You can now pay for donuts, sweaters, and food delivery with Google Wallet

Google Wallet POS
Google let its Wallet payment platform languish for years, but with the emergence of fierce competition, it looks like the search giant’s finally adopting a more proactive approach. Earlier this week, the company unveiled a partnership with branding company ChowNow, and today it’s adding Dunkin’ Donuts, Seamless, and Shopify to the mix.

How will the integration work? Simple: when it comes time to pay for your morning pastries, hand-delivered burrito, or Italian knitwear, you’ll have the option of tapping into your Wallet balance or into any other method — debit cards, credit cards, bank accounts, and the like — stored on Google’s servers.

The addition of a few brands to the Wallet family may sound trivial, but it’s a significant step forward for a payment platform that had only 60 partners before today. By comparison, Apple Pay, which just added GameStop, T-Mobile, Acme, and others, encompasses 68 retailers. Both, however, are racing for distant second: PayPal dwarfs all other digital money transfer ecosystems with 78 percent of the market.

Google Wallet got off to a rough start four years ago when Verizon blocked subscribers from downloading the app, citing “security concerns.” Analysts speculated that its true motivation was to promote ISIS, a branded payments platform created in partnership with AT&T and T-Mobile that was later and wisely renamed, as Softcard. Ironically, Google recently purchased the competitor for an undisclosed sum.

Despite news of Android Pay, a revamped payment layer expected to debut at Google I/O in May, Google Wallet will live on as a separate service. A rebranding isn’t out of the question, though; rumored components of Android Pay will make Google Wallet APIs redundant. And that’s to say nothing of “Plaso,” a reported contextually-aware payment mechanism segmented from both.

While many aspects of Google’s mobile payment strategy remain shrouded in mystery, one thing’s for certain: the company’s no longer resting on what laurels it had. Expect big things at Google’s upcoming developer conference.


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