Verizon blocking Google Wallet app on Galaxy Nexus

Matt Evangelist December 6, 2011 1
Verizon blocking Google Wallet app on Galaxy Nexus

It appears as though Verizon would rather you not make payments through a Google app. Even with a Google phone.

That’s right, Verizon Wireless has announced that despite being a joint creation between Google and Samsung, running a phone OS handled by Google, and siding with Google on the whole net neutrality issue, it will not allow Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus as it would rather its users use Isis. That means Google Wallet will not be preloaded on to the phone or downloadable from the Android Market.

Both Isis and Google Wallet are NFC-based tap-and-pay applications. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and coupled with a special chip in certain handsets (such as smartphones), allows users to turn their devices into a digital wallet. The main difference at this time between the two payment apps is the company behind them. Google Wallet is obviously done through Google, while Isis may surprise users by being a joint partnership between AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. At this time, it is unknown how secure Isis will be, but Google Wallet forces users to enter a specific PIN each time a purchase is about to be made.

Users who would rather use Google Wallet instead of Isis on their Galaxy Nexus still have the option to do so, assuming non-Market applications can be installed. The Galaxy Nexus will have to be configured to allow non-Market applications to be installed, thus allowing Google Wallet to be downloaded and installed without needing to go through the Android Market. To do this, go into the phone’s settings and under “Application Settings” check the box next to “Unknown Sources: Allow installation of non-Market applications.” This process is known as “sideloading.”

Take a bit of caution, however, as sideloading does present security risks. Users would be wise to do some research on the validity and source of the Google Wallet app if it does not come from the Android Market. False Google Wallet APK files can and likely will be used to steal credit card data, so take every precaution before downloading a payment app outside the Market.

The Galaxy Nexus will effectively be the first smartphone to use the new Android 4.0 OS, Ice Cream Sandwich. Google Nexus phones have in the past provided this OS without any modifications made by other manufacturers, and despite being made in conjunction with Samsung will continue to keep things clean.

Google Wallet works at all MasterCard PayPass terminals in the United States. At this time, Google is working to make the app compatible with other major card companies including Visa, American Express, and Discover.

This story was first reported by Computerworld, linked here.

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