Surprisingly, Google has a new app. OK, you’re probably not surprised at all. Google has always had an on-and-off relationship with the home apps that Android phones use to access its services. Specifically, Google often likes to make big changes to them, rename them, or just kill them suddenly with little explanation. The latest Google app update is actually a resurrection: google wallet is back to store all your cards and personal information.
“But wait,” you ask, “Isn’t Google Pay a thing? Doesn’t it already do that?” Well yes, it does. In fact, when the Google Pay app launched , it replaced older versions of Google Wallet and Android Pay on mobile phones.But at its IO event in May, Google announced that it was bring back Wallet with some new features not included with Pay.
Here are the differences. Google Pay may store credit card information and link to digital payment services such as PayPal. It may also contain airline boarding passes, proof of vaccination cards, and some transit passes. The new Google Wallet can do all of those things too, plus store your driver’s license and unlock your car if you’re driving a vehicle that supports digital keys.
The Google Pay app on your phone will soon be replaced by the Google Wallet app, and all of your payment information and other stuff you’ve stored in Google Pay will appear in Google Wallet. Google will also clean your email for gift cards or loyalty programs from any company you are signed up for. (For example, when I first logged into Google Wallet, it instantly retrieved my Southwest Airlines Quick Rewards number, something I had completely forgotten about.) Just be aware that if you delete the e- emails containing this information, this data will disappear from Wallet.
For most countries, these new features will simply be added as updates to the existing Google Pay app. But if you’re in the US or Singapore, Wallet and Pay will be two separate apps in the future. Confusing? Yes. Google par excellence? Absolutely. This is especially odd considering Google crushed together two of its video chat apps last month.
If you are confused, just download and use the Google Wallet app. It has the latest features, looks a lot like Google Pay, and can be used for purchases anywhere Google Pay is accepted.
As hard as it can be to keep up with ever-changing apps, switching from an analog wallet to a digital wallet (or similar Apple wallet if you’re on an iPhone) is a good idea. These digital wallets keep everything organized, encrypt your purchases and offer more security than an easily misplaced piece of leather stuffed with a stack of credit cards.
Here’s more news on web gear.
Galaxy Unpacked is near (again)
Samsung announced that their Galaxy Unpacked event will take place Wednesday August 10. It’s the biannual ceremony Samsung uses to reveal its updated phones and devices. (Yes, there was just one Event unpacked in February.) Expect to see new Galaxy phones and tablets. In the invite images, Samsung teases at least one new foldable thingy.
Samsung says that of all the foldables it has sold, 70 percent of these have been galaxy flip models. It’s the smallest phone-sized device, and since it’s so well made, there’s a good chance we’ll see more from Samsung in similar form factors. Stay tuned on the day of the event for WIRED coverage of everything Samsung will announce.
Unlike his ever smaller namesake, Amazon the company continues to grow. This week, the empire spawned by Bezos announced that it has acquired One Medical, a company that provides online and in-person healthcare services to subscriber patients in more than a dozen US cities. The nearly $4 billion deal gives Amazon access to data from nearly 800,000 patients across the United States. That said, Amazon might have its hands full with One Medical’s checkered history. The company faced a scandal last year when he was accused of prioritizing the administration of Covid vaccines to executives and other top brass over those most at risk.
Many can point to the irony of Amazon’s sudden investment in people’s health, seeing how the company is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors for security breaches in its warehouses.
The awesome future of Facebook
Facebook may have changed his name to Meta, but that hasn’t stopped controversies from sticking to the company. Recently, Facebook decided to change the way its activity feeds work again, with the aim of catch up on TikTok. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gets again filed following a lawsuit resulting from the 2018 Cambridge Analytica Scandal. And Amazon is suing directors over 10,000 Facebook groups due to alleged fake reviews. Then there’s everything that’s going on with Facebook’s vision for the metaverse.
Join this week Gadget lab podcast are Shirin Ghaffary of Recode and Alex Heath with The Verge. They talk about the big decisions from Facebook’s early days that led to the company’s tumultuous transformation into Meta, and what awaits the platform and everyone who uses it.