Google is reportedly set to resurrect its mobile payments service later this year in a bid to go head to head with Apple Pay.
Google Wallet initially launched in 2011, but has struggled to gain much consumer traction in the face of resistance from mobile carriers.
Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the search engine giant is set to launch a revamped version of Google Wallet at its I/O developer conference later this year.
The re-launch is, at least in part, the result of mobile carriers becoming more receptive to Google’s vision of mobile commerce. Three of the US’s largest mobile networks, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile previously developed their own e-commerce service called Softcard, which Google is reportedly looking to acquire.
The networks are less resistive to Google Wallet 2.0, as they make no revenue from Apple Pay, the e-wallet platform which launched in October 2014.
Marc Freed Frinnegan, an ex-Google Wallet executive, believes that Apple Pay has changed the dynamics of mobile payments.
“If payments become a standard feature of phones, Google has to have a service on a par with Apple or better," he said. “Certainly Apple isn’t working with the carriers.”
While Google is likely to be optimistic of reviving interest in Google Wallet, the Mountain View company still faces a number of hurdles.
The fact that the Android platform is much more fragmented than iOS means that it will have less control over whether handsets launch with the app, something that is not an issue for Apple.
The fact that Samsung, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of Android phones, has just acquired mobile payments startup LoopPay with a view to entering the e-commerce sphere is also a blow to Google’s plans.
Nevertheless, Google is reported to be in discussions with a number of banks and payment carriers ahead of the proposed Google Wallet re-launch in May.