updated 04:35 pm EDT, Wed March 21, 2012
Google Wallet said struggling
Google may be looking to implement major changes to Google Wallet after getting little support, leaks might have disclosed on Wednesday. Having only ever earned support from Sprint, the search giant was said by Bloomberg to be looking at a revenue split to get AT&T or Verizon offering support. The proposal would give a cut of Google Offers coupons and other deals.
One alternative would be to skip carriers entirely and get upgraded hardware for the NFC readers, which would talk directly to Google clear payments.
The move would be partly prompted by the loss of Wallet co-creator Jonathan Wall and product manager Mark Freed-Finnegan to their own mobile payment startup, Tappmo.
Google was still optimistic and would "continue to work hard" on building up Google Wallet, representative Nate Tyler said, without confirming or denying the performance.
The Wallet project was intentionally modest from the start, starting with just the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, but it has had virtually no growth since. Outside of unlocked Galaxy Nexus phones on AT&T, the one Sprint phone is the only model cleared to use Wallet. Verizon, despite denials, blocks Google Wallet in what's been widely seen as an attempt to shelter the upcoming NFC payment system it prefers, Isis, from competition.
Isis may get more support regardless by getting support from three out of the top four US carriers along with the needed financial institutions. Platform support might be its own issue, since Google's preferences for and current dependence on Android for Wallet limit its reach. More than just the Nexus line supports NFC, but no others can officially handle Wallet even when the carrier isn't denying access.
Some have expected that NFC might only get widespread adoption if the iPhone uses it, as it would be the first widely adopted smartphone to use the short-range wireless.