Google releases revamped Wallet for iPhones and iPads

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Wallet For iOS Becomes A Peer-To-Peer Payments App.

Previously, Google Wallet was some kind of hybrid payment system that few people understood, and fewer used. With Google reportedly in talks with Chinese authorities about opening a new Android app store, speculation is rife that an agreement could see government-approved apps would come automatically installed on Google’s Android smartphones designed for the Chinese market.

A recent study by market research firm Nielsen claimed that the average person uses 27 apps a month, which sounds like very few considering that Apple and Google’s app stores both have more than 1 million apps available.After launching Android Pay earlier this month, Google has now released a new version of its Wallet app for iOS to simplify money transfers between contacts in the US. Many interpret this step as Google planting a seed for its eventual return to China after exiting the Chinese market five years ago – yet our research at the University of Pennsylvania shows that Google has never completely left.

The latest update lets you send and request money from anyone in the States using just their email address — they don’t even need to have the app installed. While Google search and other apps have been blocked in mainland China, another arm of the company – Google Analytics – the largest web analytics service in the world – has continued to actively operate in China to this day. Some apps do have mass audiences: Facebook and Twitter in the social networking category; WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat for messaging; Google Maps for getting around; Spotify for music; YouTube for video; Kindle for reading ebooks; Instagram for photo-sharing; and so on. With PayPal’s new service, Square Cash, Facebook, and even Snapchat, competition is hot and there are plenty of companies in the peer-to-peer payment space already. According to Google, the Analytics service allows website operators to “analyse visitor traffic and paint a complete picture of [the] audience and their needs.” Essentially it means Google Analytics is able to create a record of what pages are visited and how a user has interacted with a given page.

Beyond these 900lb gorillas of the apps world, though, there is a wide selection of software that can improve your smartphone’s capabilities: often replacing the default apps that come preloaded on it, from email and calendar apps to mapping and music. In addition, you can request a physical Google Wallet debit card to spend your account balance in brick-and-mortar establishments or withdraw it from an ATM.

It’s an obvious hit at services like Venmo; whether it’s got the pull to de-throne the check-splitting app of choice is a different question, but Google’s certainly giving it a try. One of the important trends in this area is apps working better together, whether through partnerships between them – pretty much every fitness-tracking app works with a range of complementary services – or by features in the smartphone software from Apple and Google making it easier to move tasks and content between different apps on your device.

On 8 September, as part of our research into Chinese internet governance, we used a mainland-based computer system to analyse 465 popular Chinese websites for the presence of hidden tracking mechanisms. A trend that’s in its earlier stages is the growth of companion apps for smartwatches, usually designed to take two or three key tasks from the main app to your wrist, to avoid you getting your smartphone out of your pocket.

App developers also have a growing awareness of issues around privacy, from messaging apps such as Telegram that make encryption one of their key features, to controversies like recent criticism of an update to Spotify’s privacy policy, which was (wrongly, as it turned out) seen as opening the door for its app to root through users’ photos and listen to their conversations. Of greatest interest, the vast majority of these connections are not blocked by the Great Firewall, despite the fact that on the same server we were unable to access other Google services like Search.

That money includes upfront payments and in-app purchases, but not advertising – a big money-spinner for companies like Facebook, which made $7.5 billion from mobile ads in 2014 alone. Although Analytics is a free service, it pays for itself by giving Google vital knowledge about an individual’s interests, allowing Google to build digital dossiers on countless Chinese users. For anyone relatively inexperienced in smartphones and apps, this roundup offers a good starting point to improve your handset: even if you don’t find most of them useful, several will have a meaningful effect on your daily life. If Google expands its service offerings with the blessing of Chinese authorities, possessing a pre-compiled portrait of consumers is an obvious advantage.

It prompts you to explain your feelings to help spot triggers for low moments, and provides tips on how to avoid the “thinking traps” that may cause them. The service does not honor the “Do Not Track” standard, and is largely invisible to any given user who is being tracked without notice or consent. Users must first be aware that Google Analytics exists (often by reading news reports, which in the Chinese context may be censored), and then taking proactive measures to learn about ways to block unwanted corporate surveillance. It can be deployed for a “scientific” study of online public opinion – a practice that has rapidly grown in China in recent years and is aimed at more effective official responsiveness to public concerns.

Installed on your smartphone at your bedside, it measures your sleeping patterns, while its alarm aims to wake you at the best time within your cycle – avoiding morning grumps. Our research found that key government and party units at national and local levels have both in-house and privately contracted personnel dedicated to the study of public opinion.

Peak is doing a similar thing on smartphones and tablets, with dozens of mini-games designed to test thinking skills and track your improvement over time. From tubes and trains to taxis and buses, Citymapper suggests several routes, each with a projected time, with alerts on weather, strikes and other issues. This handy companion will translate words and phrases while you’re abroad, with support for 50 languages and the option to have things read out or displayed on screen for you to try the pronunciation.

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