May 17, 2013

Google Wallet has been unable to catch wide public interest since its release two years ago, and just last week the former head of Google Wallet, Osama Bedier, left the project. In a move that seems aimed at gaining wider visibility for the wallet solution, Google announced yesterday on its commerce blog that it will integrate Google Wallet into Gmail to allow payments through Gmail.

[See Related: Google Wallet Head Osama Bedier Quits]

Gmail has 425 million users worldwide, according to Google, which could give the wallet a strong base to work from in its bid to get more users on board. To make a payment through Gmail, users will click on a dollar sign icon in the Gmail tools bar, which will allow them to send money, similar to sending an attachment. Users will then enter the amount they wish to send to the recipient and click “send,” Google said.

The recipient will not need to have a Gmail address to retrieve the funds, according to Google. The service will be free for Google Wallet users. The money will be taken out of their Google Wallet balance or will be charged to a bank account linked to their wallet.

Gmail users who aren’t signed up for Google Wallet will be able to send money to by charging a credit or debit card, but will have to pay a fee to send money.

Google is also leveraging the popularity of its Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system to promote Google Wallet. It announced this week that it will be adding and API to Chrome that will automatically update shipping information with the customer’s Google Wallet info to speed up the checkout process online.

And Google will be providing a new Google Wallet Instant Buy API for Android, which aims to simplify in-app purchases for retailers and merchants. As with the Chrome API, customer’s information will similarly be drawn from their Google Wallet accounts to set up a faster check out, and Google Wallet’s purchase protection policy will cover all transactions. The retailers who have already signed up for the Android API for their apps include Booking.com, Uber and Priceline, Google said in a statement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...