Google’s Failure is Apple’s Reward: Why Apple Pay Stands a Better Chance than Google Wallet

When I told my friends I used Apple Pay for the first time (debut 10/20), my Android friends all said, “Welcome to the party…”  But lets be real, barely any of them are actually using Google Wallet, Softcard, or any other mobile payment system. And we even have the stats to back it up. Here’s some interesting data from 2013. 8% of users report using Google Wallet although 41% claim to know about it. So I find major fault in the claim that “peeps been doing it for years,” because in truth,  they haven’t. 

I’d like to let everyone know that I don’t hate Google. I like what they’re doing overall, and it has an allure. The data they collect with their software tools enables them to offer proactive services for the world. Free. You literally can’t say Google does not benefit you in some way. That’s a profound fact.

So they have a big leg up over hardware companies in the long term.  Their products are quite diversified, and they have services that are indispensable to any Internet-based device. Unfortunately for Apple, they’re solely a hardware and software company (no monopoly on search, and Apple Maps was a disaster at first). Thus, they are lacking in certain market dominance, and I’m not sure how/if they will bridge the gap.

But Apple Pay could be a great start. Apple customers love their iPhones and iProducts with a disgusting passion. They get all the best apps first (i.e. Instagram, Secret, and even Snapchat) and have some of the most beautiful hardware and software. And their products are so exciting, new models sell out in the tens of millions (10 million iPhone 6s were sold in the debut weekend). So when Apple Pay comes around after years of ISIS/Softcard and Google Wallet, I’m not surprised to see it potentially cornering the market on mobile payment in hyper-adoption frenzy. And according to polls, Apple has already seen interest. One suggested 20% of Apple users are interested in mobile payment.

Google Wallet isn’t successful because Google’s way to market is sloppy and unrefined. When they nail a product (which they inevitably do after a million revisions of it), it’s great. It’s just that you have to be their crash test dummy the entire time (Remember Google Buzz and Google+?). Yes, Google+ is growing, but you’re still not using it.   Half the time they announce something, the company just waits for it to stick. If it doesn’t, they move on.  And it’s really a shame, because Google is platform agnostic. Despite Google Wallet being available for the iPhone, Apple Pay is going to crush it.

I like Apple’s software, simply because I’ve had a better experience with it. It’s intuitive and it fits right into Apple’s own ecosystem seamlessly. I’m sure others can say the opposite, and that is perfectly fine with me. However, I’m tired of those suggesting Apple is losing a battle because they’re no longer being “first” to an idea.

 Keep in mind,  there were companies before Google and Apple who were first and they’re not in the game anymore. *cough* Palm, Sony, and Research in Motion (BlackBerry) to name a few. So at the end of the day, who the hell cares? Tech is more than being first. To me it’s about ubiquity, coherence, and reliability. Others may have different priorities and that’s why they choose Android or other platforms over iOS.

But despite all the yelling, I don’t believe Android users are “power users.” The ones that screaming the loudest drown out the vast percentage of mobile phone owners who barely use their software features. These low-end users could not care less about the obscene amount of cluttered options and customization offered by their smartphones. They’re glorified Facebook machines with a selfie camera. Why would they care about Google Wallet or Google Now? And if they did, why don’t the numbers show otherwise?

This is terrible for the adoption of technology. Tech is for everyone, not just geeks. When the Everyman can adopt, we move forward. With Google, I feel you have a greater array of ignorance among users. This causes a disparity between the appeal of technology and actual adoption of it. Android claims to be ahead (it is in software market share) but the problem is that simply creating the technology does not push it to the forefront. In fact, it does everyone in tech a disservice by simply half-baking this crap.

Google doesn’t care if you like their product. They just wait for the geeks to sell it for them. Or they wait for Apple or some other company to come along and sell the same idea, which they have millions of [ideas].  Google is an information company and not a manufacturer. This is the fundamental difference that determines the success of Apple Pay over Google Wallet.

So do I care that Google wallet was around in 2011? No, because it was half-baked tech versus a holistic product involving all the moving parts of the payment industry. Tech is good if you can convince people to use it.

In the end, I’m happy being last if that means other people besides me (a self-described geek) are going to use it.

What about you, are you using mobile payment? Tell us your experience in the comments below.

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  • Cottoneyed Joe

    Written by a true apple fan boy, how much did Tim Cook pay you to write this article??

    • TechVoid

      it’s an editorial. Did you read it in entirety? Editor here. I’m personally a big Google fan. My thoughts are somewhat different. Android users will be sure to adopt Google Wallet, bolstering the success of the application thanks to Apple users gushing over Apple Pay. And round and round the mobile payment competition goes!

    • Brandon Russell

      I definitely think Google Wallet will become more popular in the coming months. Wouldn’t be surprised if there is a major revision in the works to compete. In typical fashion it will probably be more popular or just as popular as Apple Pay. I think for me the idea was that as soon as you go into the passbook it just grabbed your info from your iTunes account and immediately brought up a picture of your card and it was ready to go. It works on pretty much any NFC card reading device that is out in the wild now. It’s these things that make it seamless.

      Google is a think tank. They make great products that are refined over time. They don’t strong arm the industry into changing like Apple does. This innate quality sometimes works in their favor and sometimes to their detriment.

      • Matilija

        I don’t think so.
        Apple does not spy on what you buy like Google! And people don’t like that at all. And Apple Pay is getting ALL the positive PR the last few weeks. Even with Google and Samsung trying to promote negative Apple Pay posts.

  • teancum144

    Here’s a good comparison between the Google Wallet and Apple Pay:
    https://plus.google.com/103480296351265696647/posts/ajcKKHdE88t

  • The One

    Whatever Apple is paying you is not enough! You are a great spokeswoman!!!! Keep on doing Mr. Cook’s bidding.

  • bobby

    It must do more than just 220 000 retailers.

    Write another article when it’ll come close to the 10 millions+ retailers that accept such methods of virtual transactions ie Loop Wallet.

  • atlman

    All right then

    0. Smartphones are “glorified Facebook machines with a selfie camera.” Accepting that …

    1. Google Wallet – and mobile payment in general – is easier to adopt and use than Facebook or selfies. (It doesn’t even require a smartphone. Its functions can be implemented on a feature phone with an NFC chip.)

    2. Lots of people who have no interest in Facebook and selfies – and hence smartphones – will be interested in mobile payment for the convenience of not having to deal with credit cards

    3. Such people will acquire smartphones solely for mobile payments

    4. Said smartphones will generally be the cheapest available, including off-contract, discount carrier and prepaid phones

    5. Though Microsoft is trying to get into the action here, the cheapest available smartphones will generally be Android.

    6. Those Android phones will be “Google Wallet” machines instead of Facebook machines

    7. Expect Google to provide Google Wallet to Windows Phone users too.

    8. “Facebook machine” Android users will be equally motivated to use mobile payments

    9. Apple Pay will be the way that “Facebook machine” Android users know that Google Wallet exists

    10. Many of the “Facebook machine” Android users and the “Google Wallet” machine users will have no idea that Apple Pay and Google Wallet are separate systems

    11. Among “power user” smartphone households, many own both iOS devices and premium Android devices (a household is more likely to have both an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy than an iPhone and a Mac)

    12. Such “power user” households will use both Apple Pay and Google Wallet

    13. Neither Google Wallet or Apple Pay will win. Both will coexist in the marketplace in the same manner that the Coca-Colas and Pepsis that people will use Google Wallet and Apple Pay to buy

    14. The only reason why your Android friends all said “Welcome to the party” is because you and your Apple cohorts have trashed their Android products – and them personally – with comments like “With Google, I feel you have a greater array of ignorance among users”, “half-baked crap” and “crash test dummies” for years and they wish to respond by using Apple’s adopting Android features (and form factors and product ideas and increasing openness to third party solutions and …) as evidence that their Android products are of comparable quality to your Apple products and they are not rubes for choosing to spend $250 for a fantastic product like the Moto X (4 stars on CNET.com) over $650 for an iPhone 6 (4.5 stars on CNET.com) because some (ultimately nonessential) third party apps perform slightly better on the latter than the former. Basically, Apple fans loathe (or merely disdain) Android and Android users, and Android users resent being loathed (or merely disdained) by Apple fans. What is worse, the true source of the animus is mere emotion, which makes all the attempts to justify the combination of vitriolic bile and patronizing condescension (of the sort that appears in this article) with pseudo-factual nonsense as “a holistic product involving all the moving parts” and “intuitive and it fits right into an ecosystem seamlessly” and “for everyone … the everyman can adopt” and other nonsense that more befits a New Age campfire gathering than a technology and industry discussion.

    15. Android fans are well aware of the long string of Apple product failures before they hit their current roll. One of them was the initial attempt that the iPad, called the Newton, remember? Sloppy and unrefined indeed.

    16. Android fans are also well aware that even the Apple products that succeed are often crude, uninspiring and buggy in their first iterations before taking off in their second and sometimes third generations. This was true of the iPod, iPhone and iMac, meaning that Apple uses their own consumers as crash test dummies also.

    17. Google has more failures than Apple because they release far more products. Which, of course, means that they also have more successes. It also means that they – and companies like them – move the pace of industry and innovation must faster. Imagine were Google and other Internet software companies to emulate the Apple strategy of only releasing a new product ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS. We would still be on Web 2.0. Which, of course, means that there would be no actual iPhones or iPads because the software required to make those devices practical would not exist. Your iPhone would be merely an improved version of a Motorola, Ericsson or Nokia cell phones that were all the rage a mere few years before the iPhone was invented, and your iPad would be, well, the Newton.

    18. Google Wallet did not fail because it was a flawed product. Google Wallet failed because of resistance from banks and retailers. The former did not want to disrupt their business model and the latter did not want to adopt expensive hardware. Now, far more retailers have the hardware, and banks have no choice but to accommodate Apple because of its position as the most profitable, powerful company in the world.

    19. The experiences that Google went through with Google Wallet is similar to what Apple is experiencing right now with Apple TV. Apple has the hardware for a radically new version of the product all ready to go, but it is being blocked because of resistance by cable companies, telecoms and content owners who – sound familiar? – do not want their business model interrupted. What will finally allow Apple to release the new Apple TV will be the cord cutting brought about by the likes of Netflix, Amazon and – gasp! – Google owned YouTube. The first domino – HBO allowing internet streaming without a cable subscription – has fallen, and soon Apple will be able to deal with content owners and providers for Apple TV directly the same way that it does for iTunes.

    20. And not the least bit ironically, one of the best things for the success of Apple TV will be the spread of Google Fiber. Why? Because unlike the other ISPs, Google does not have deals with cable companies to protect. Apple will have to compete with Android TV however …

    Add it all up and pretty much everything in your post was completely, totally wrong from a technology, business and actual recorded history standpoint. But hey, what do I know. I am just an Android owner.

  • rhondaleebaby69

    I have been using Softcard (nee ISIS) since Day 1. I’ve loved the convenience of being able to tap-to-pay at any terminal with the icon. However, now that Apple Pay has managed to piss off some big retailers (CVS, Walmart), I’ve lost that ability at those places. I thought Apple Pay was supposed to bring more NFC-enabled terminals to bear, not less.
    I prefer the old days when I could fly under the radar with my NFC payments.

  • JayTee

    Tech is about ubiquity? Doesn’t Apple have about 15 percent of the smartphone market?

    Sure, lots of people don’t utilize their smartphones’ functionality. I’d rather they pay $400 ($0 on contract) than $700 ($200). For that choice.