As we move into the age of wearables, voice guidance and anything related to real-time interactive technologies help enhance engagement through user experience. With iOS 8 came Apple Pay, from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and it was called revolutionary, as usual. However, when NFC first came into picture and with the promises it offered to users, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) was the first to bank on this new technology and began offering Mobile payments. And, now when the market is heating up again Google is revamping its mobile payment system to grab the biggest chunk of the pie.
Let’s Call It Plaso!
Google is calling its new mobile wallet system “Plaso”, the company is reportedly testing the new system which will either complement or replace the company’s current mobile wallet system. The Google Wallet upgrade can be making its public appearance soon. The new system will rely on Bluetooth based connections and will require your initials for authentication purposes. As per the initial reports, the retailers will apparently be able to see all Plaso enabled devices inside a store and to reach your handset, your initials will be required (Much like how two devices pair up over Bluetooth by exchanging passkeys). As reported by Mashable, Sherice Torres, Director of Marketing for Commerce – Google, the company is all set to roll out a couple of ad campaigns for Plaso.
Google Wallet debuted in 2011 and offered NFC-based cash transactions with tap-to-pay now being available to all Android devices running Android version 4.4.4 and above and boasting NFC on board. But AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, the highly popular American carriers played spoilsport by restricting Wallet’s availability, according to the former Google Wallet Product lead Marc Freed-Finnegan. Meanwhile, Apple Pay struck the sweet spot right away after Apple registered the activation of over one million cards in the first 72 hours from the launch!
Mobile Payments and Apple
A confident Tim Cook has said that Apple Pay is already the biggest success in the field of mobile payments and will only grow bigger here on! As the words go from Cook’s speech at an Apple event last year
“Payments is a huge business. Every day between credit and debit we spend 12 billion dollars. That’s over 4 trillion dollars a year, and that’s just in the United States … 200 million transactions a day. That’s 200 million times we scramble for our credit cards and go through what is a fairly antiquated process” .
This indicates one thing for sure! The market for mobile payments is heating up and everyone wants a piece of it. According to a report by Business Insider, the mobile payment industry is will grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 154%, to an estimated $189 billion in 2018 from $1.8 billion in 2013.
Again, Apple has the upper hand as it enjoys control over both the software and hardware of the devices it produces, while Google has to rely a lot on the OEMs as well as the region specific carriers to grow the use of its services. In a market which sees the introduction of something new every other day, it would be interesting to see who will take the upper hand.
User Engagement: Need Of The Hour!
And what makes the fight more interesting? Definitely, user engagement. Companies like Google and Apple work day in and day out to make their services more appealing and easy to use for the common user. User engagement plays a vital role these days. Every new technology that makes its way in, has to pass this test to mark its success. With every passing minute a user spends on his mobile device counting as much premium to the hosts, mobile payments make things even more interesting by putting real-time payments into the list of tasks that a user can do using his cell phone!
When Apple does something new, almost everyone accepts it with arms wide open. That’s what Apple puts in for some brand value. With more and more retailers reaching out to Apple to register for Apple Pay, the task for the successor to the Google Wallet looks a bit tough but not impossible. Google has been known to reclaim lost battles and with the big event of the year, Google I/O 2015 set for May 28-29, you can expect things to heat up further.
Let The Games Begin!
The Apple C.E.O can be as confident as he wants to be, but one just cannot rule out Google’s reach to the users with over a billion Android devices activated since launch! If all goes well for Google and Plaso hits big, the Mountain View based giant will rake in some hard cash and glory. Whichever way it goes from here, it is undoubtedly a blessing in disguise to have giants like Apple and Google fight it out to change the way we use our mobile devices and eventually, the way we live. What’s your take?