Apple’s Passbook is just on the horizon with iOS 6 set to be released this fall. In preparation for this, Google is expanding its own wallet service, the Google Wallet, with location-aware store cards, boarding passes, and event tickets, similar to the features expected in Apple’s Passbook.
The new features coming to Google Wallet were revealed by Robin Dua, the head of product management for Google Wallet, in a question and answer session posted on YouTube (shown below). Dua said that the company is hoping to be able to store anything that consumers might want to find in their actual wallets, including boarding passes, IDs, gift cards, travel itineraries, concert tickets, and more.
Dua explained that, “One of the things we’re trying to do is make it easy for airlines, transit providers, and other types of issuers of credentials to make it super simply for them to get their credential stored in the Wallet. That’s the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device.”
Google launched its near-field communication payment service last May and since then a number of Android-based mobile devices have used these NFC chips for mobile transactions.
Having a déjà vu? That might be because it sounds on awful lot like what we can expect from Apple’s Passbook. Apple has highlighted the Passbook as a key feature in iOS 6: “your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards and more are now all in one place.”
One of the biggest rumors for the next-generation iPhone is that it would be NFC-enabled, but this rumor was dispelled just yesterday, burying speculation that Apple would offer NFC e-wallet functionality with the new iPhone and Passbook in iOS 6. So while the Google Wallet relies on NFC for mobile payments, Apple’s Passbook works by location awareness. It will quickly provide users with store cards and other items for nearby businesses.
Google’s developer video with Dua reveals how the company plans to add a similar location technology features to its own Wallet service, which would allow it to compete with the Passbook on a more equal footing.
While Apple’s Passbook and the Google Wallet will also be competing with services like PayPal, Square, and others, they have the advantage of already being in many pockets and purses through iPhone and Android-based devices. It will be interesting to see how Apple’s and Google’s digital wallet services will compete against each other once the Passbook is released with iOS 6 this fall.