Google has a tumultuous and perplexing history with digital wallets and contactless payment apps. The company first entered the world of contactless payments more than a decade ago, in 2011, with the original Google Wallet app. Four years later, the company discontinued Google Wallet in favor of a new payment system called Android Pay. Even as the rest of the world continued to use Android Pay, Google launched another digital payment app called Google Tez in India in 2017, based on the country’s revolutionary instant payments system UPI (Unified Payments Interface). Someone rebranded Google Tez as Google Pay in India in 2018. In the United States and the rest of the world, the company rebranded Android Pay to Google Pay.
Google had two versions of the Google Pay app available for download for over four years. While the Google Tez-based Google Play app was exclusive to India, there was another Google Pay app for the rest of the world. Google maintained this status quo until 2022, when the company decided it was time to revamp its payments ecosystem. Google resurrected the original Google Wallet brand name at Google I/O 2022. To accomplish this, the company updated the international Google Pay app and rebranded it as Google Wallet.
I released this rebranded version of Google Wallet earlier this year to users in 45 countries, including the United States. Google announced on November 15, 2022, that it has expanded the global footprint of Google Wallet to 12 new countries, as well as added support for new wearable devices.
Jenny Cheng, VP, and GM at Google Wallet, confirmed in a blog post that the revamped Google Wallet app is now available in 12 more countries. Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Slovenia, Thailand, and Vietnam have all joined this list. With the addition of these countries, Google Wallet is now available in 57 countries.
Aside from these new countries, the company also announced that I have released an update that allows users to make contactless Google Wallet payments using the Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4 smartwatches. The same feature was already available on the Pixel Watch less than a month ago.
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Besides peer-to-peer payments, Google Wallet allows users to tap and pay on public transportation systems in hundreds of cities. Google has also partnered with major ticketing companies such as Ticketmaster, Thaiticketmajor in Thailand, Cinemaxx in Germany, and Ticketek, Humanitix, and Oztix in Australia, allowing users to save mobile tickets directly within the Google Wallet app.
Google Wallet users can now access their boarding passes directly within the Google Wallet app, thanks to partnerships with major airlines such as AirAsia, Air France, China Air, Ryanair, and United Airlines. The app supports multiple boarding passes, which is useful when traveling with family and friends.