Google I/O 2022: Google Announces Wallet App, Health Connect Initiative

Google today at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, dropped a number of buzzworthy announcements. Perhaps the most exciting among them are the return of the standalone Wallet app and the debut of Health Connect.

Firstly, Google Wallet is making a comeback. The search engine giant today debuted the redesigned app, which will serve as the go-to place to manage payment cards, gift cards, rewards cards, parking passes and event tickets, among others.


Google can’t seem to make its mind up with the Wallet app. It used to be a standalone app before it was integrated into Google Pay a few years ago. At that time, the company was positioning Pay to be the unified payment service that everyone could use, combining Wallet and Android Pay. Now, however, Wallet is back to being separate.


As mentioned earlier, Google Wallet not only stores users’ credit and debit cards but also other identification cards as well, including vaccination cards and other government-issued IDs. The company also wants to expand its functionalities to also work with car and room keys. Some hotels, for example, have already shown willingness to adopt the technology that would allow guests to use digital room keys.


Because Google typically builds its apps on open ecosystems, partner apps can easily integrate their own features into Wallet. Google’s President of Commerce and Payments Bill Ready, for instance, talked to The Verge about how Wallet could work with Google Maps. He explained that if users store their transit passes in Wallet, they’ll be able to see how much money is left on it and get a computation of the cost from viewing routes in Maps. In case there’s not enough funds to cover the fare, Maps will allow users to top-up from within the app using any of the stored payment cards from Wallet.


For this to work, Google will need the help of a lot of third-party partners and in this specific example transit operators. This is why Ready said the open-ecosystem approach was the best way to move forward with the app. He added that companies won’t have to pay to integrate into Wallet.


The Verge points out that the rollout of wallet could be different for each country. For some, the new Wallet app will replace Google Pay. For the U.S. and Singapore, however, Wallet will be a standalone app.


It’ll be available on Android and WearOS soon, though Google did not give a date.


Google at the event also announced Health Connect, a new initiative that looks to streamline how health and fitness apps connect and share data with other apps. The company is working on this in partnership with Samsung.


This new campaign essentially involves creating services and APIs that would make the syncing of data between these different apps much easier than how they are today.


“Health Connect lets you store and access health-related information across devices with user consent, taking out all the boilerplate code, taking care of the security issues, but also allowing you to mash up that information,” Sean McBreen, who leads the product team for Android Toolkit, told TechCrunch.


The goal is supposedly to have Google Fit, Samsung Health, MyFitnessPal, Leap Fitness, Withings to all share the same APIs.


As for privacy, all the data being synced don’t leave the device and are encrypted. On top of that, users have full control over which apps can access their data. They can simply turn app permissions on and off to their desire.


Health Connect is currently in beta to developers on Google Play, meaning it’ll likely be some time before the initiative’s promises can be tested by the public.


Other announcements at the conference include Android 13 and some new features for the software, along with the reveal of the Pixel 6A.

 
  • Google today at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, dropped a number of buzzworthy announcements. Perhaps the most exciting among them are the return of the standalone Wallet app and the debut of Health Connect.

  • The search engine giant today debuted the redesigned Wallet app, which will serve as the go-to place to manage payment cards, gift cards, rewards cards, parking passes and event tickets, among others.

  • Google at the event also announced Health Connect, a new initiative that looks to streamline how health and fitness apps syncs data with other apps.


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