Google Wallet for iOS makes it easier to send money to your friends

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

Users can now send peer-to-peer payments, or cash out directly to a debit card — though Google is removing support for loyalty cards, gift cards, and offers with this update.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. You can export those here. “Send money to anyone in the U.S. with an email address,” Google said of the new service. “It’s fast, easy, and free to send directly from your debit card, bank account, or Wallet Balance.” “When you receive money, you can quickly cash out to your bank account using your debit card, or spend it instantly with the Google Wallet Card,” it added. Emphasis is being placed on the ability to send money to people who don’t use the Wallet app, though for now this is still all exclusive to U.S. users.

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. 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. With an increasing number of apps that we already use on a daily basis starting to incorporate peer-to-peer payments — including Facebook and Snapchat — the “Wallet Wars” are just getting started. 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.

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. The main benefit of that is that it allows you to spend the debit on your account physically in stores, or withdraw it from an ATM to get the cold hard cash in your hands.

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. 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. If Google expands its service offerings with the blessing of Chinese authorities, possessing a pre-compiled portrait of consumers is an obvious advantage.

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.

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. Google’s lack of transparency in this matter further aggravates growing concerns over online privacy, which transcend geographic and political boundaries. • Timothy Libert is a PhD Student at the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Information Controls Fellow with the Open Technology Fund in partnership with the Ranking Digital Rights project: / 00 1 347-268-7043 • Maria Repnikova is scholar of Chinese and Russian media politics, and a post-doctoral fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania: / 00 1 202-812-4443

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