Why Google Wallet Could Be Tech’s Next Big Failure?
Leading developers of the smartphone industry had prophesied 2012 to be the year of the ‘digital wallet’. And being the market leader in revolutionary smartphone applications, Google was expected to bear the torch and lead the way. However, six months after its auspicious launch, Google Wallet seems to be on the verge of collapsing under the burgeoning weight of various security flaws that have been identified in the application.
What is Google Wallet ?
Google Wallet is an application that transforms smartphones into mobile payment platforms. Developed by Google, the application facilitates customers by allowing them to store critical details of credit cards, gift cards and even loyalty cards. Customers can also use the application to redeem sales promotions through their smartphones.
Google Wallet works by gathering essential credit card details of smartphone users along with relevant information for a prepaid Google payment card. It stores this information in a digital application on the smartphone. By simply tapping their smartphones to a dedicated payment terminal, subscribers can use stored credit card details embedded in Google Wallet when making a payment at the cash counter.
How Google Wallet failed?
Although Google Wallet was believed to promise incredible commercial implications and technological possibilities, it has not been as popular in the market as other applications developed under the Google brand. After nearly six months of its inception and introduction to smartphone users, the application still struggles to find decent device partners and carriers.
Google Wallet has also struggled to impress retailers who have so far been unwilling to invest in the new NFC technology, which powers the application. However, as surprising as it may seem, this has been the least of Google’s worries; recently, a major part of the application was suspended after news surfaced that some essential security features of the application had been compromised.
Major features of the application were made unavailable to the public as software experts at Google sought how to fix the pressing security issue. After careful analysis of the application, it was learned that hackers and other cyber criminals had obtained access to critical credit card details stored by Google Wallet ‘outside’ of the application. Storage of sensitive information outside of the software made it increasingly susceptible to cyber attacks.
Google Wallet has also faced a lot of flak recently for its vulnerability to data theft. Google recently announced indefinitely suspending the applications ability to set up new prepaid cards. This announcement came only a short while after it was learned that if Google Wallet-enabled phones were stolen while the device’s home screen wasn’t locked, the unauthorized user could easily reset the PIN.
This would allow the thief instant access to whatever amount of money would be available on the Google Prepaid Card. However, what is even more surprising is that once the credit card details are stored by Google Wallet outside of the application, completely deleting the application from the smartphone does little to erase the critical data.
In a recent statement to the public, the vice president of Google Wallet and Payments, Osama Bedier, emphasized that key features of the application have been indefinitely suspended until the underlying security risks associated with the application have been effectively fixed. Theft of credit card details is considered a serious felony under the federal law and may lead to imprisonment.
There is little doubt among developers of the application that security has largely been the causative factor for poor public sentiment in the market for Google Wallet. The perception of stringent data security measures is essential when an application is targeting people to subscribe to a novel service.
Although Google Wallet is a revolutionary application that has far-reaching implications in the field of technology, public enthusiasm and excitement has been replaced with skepticism amidst increasing instances of security breach. Google has therefore proposed radical changes in its Google Wallet application in a bid to win back the trust and support of the public.
Google has ample time at its disposal to regroup and fix prominent security issues. There are many among Google Wallet users who still believe that the application offers solid security, particularly when compared with conventional credit cards. The success or failure of this revolutionary idea rests precariously on the efforts of developers to fix the application. For now, we can only wait and watch.
About the Author:
The above article is composed and edited by EvA K. She is associated with many technology and web communities as their freelance writer and adviser. In her free time she writes articles related to broadband deals, dongle technology, mobile applications, etc.