Google is set to update its Wallet app at its annual I/O conference next week, but Google CEO Larry Page has shelved long-rumored plans to introduce a Wallet-branded physical credit card, sources tell AllThingsD.
The report claims that Google will use I/O to announce improvements to Wallet\’s rewards, offers and loyalty points programs as well as new partnerships with more merchants.
Google\’s mobile payments platform is currently accepted at 24 different retail locations, but has largely struggled because of its reliance on NFC tech, which isn\’t supported in a wide variety of smartphones. Earlier this week, the head of Google\’s Wallet division, Osama Bedier, announced that he will be leaving the company.
The release of a physical Google credit card to go along with Wallet has been rumored since late last year, and was previously expected to be unveiled at Google I/O. But now, the report says that Page cut plans to introduce the card after witnessing a \”glitchy run-through demo\” last week. Page is said to have been skeptical of the physical card idea from the get-go.
A physical card likely would opened up the Wallet platform to more consumers, but also has the potential to give Google crucial data on users\’ offline spending habits. That could allow Google to target its customers with more specific advertisements, promotions and the like. If that sounds like something that would raise the eyebrows of privacy rights pundits, well, it probably would.
For now, though, those plans appear to be shelved. TechnologyGuide has reached out to Google for comment on the matter and will update this post if it hears back.