The Google Pay app is no longer available.

Google Wallet takes over as an app, but it looks like Google is giving up on peer-to-peer payments.

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Google removed the Google Pay app. 9to5Google reveals that its previous payments app ceased operating lately, following February closure plans. Google is closing the US Google Pay app, although in-store NFC payments are still called “Google Pay.” Google’s dysfunctional payments business is shutting down Google Payment app No. 3 (Google Pay) to launch Google Payment app No. 4 (Google Wallet). The closure completes Google’s payments division’s collapse following bad judgments and product releases.

Google’s NFC payment adventure began in 2011 with Google Wallet (apps 1 and 4). Google pioneered phone payments in numerous countries (excluding Japan) in 2011. Despite carriers’ efforts to block phone payments, Google supplied the first non-Japanese phones with the capability and petitioned shops for suitable terminals. Apple Pay’s 2014 introduction blew apart Google’s effort, so in 2015, it released Android Pay. This mimicked Apple’s arrangement, delivering payment tokens instead of credit card numbers. This arrangement was rebranded as Google Pay in 2018.

Google Pay 2018 was based on Android Pay, which was based on Google Wallet. Despite all the rebrands, Google’s payment applications evolved and weren’t “shut down”—they were upgraded. When a new version of Google Pay arrived in 2021, Google’s payment division went haywire.

Google Pay 2021 used a new codebase based on Google Tez, an Indian payments software. US Play Store users saw Tez rebranded as Google Pay. Being developed for India, where a phone may be your only Internet device, the new Google Pay had several strategy decisions that didn’t match the US market. It utilized your phone number instead of your Google Account, so Google Pay didn’t know who you were when you first used it. It was like signing up for a non-Google service. Google had to shut down Google Pay, which could be used for P2P payments like Venmo, due to the phone number identification scheme. In India, where phones are the only gadgets, this could be alright, but in the US, where people have phones, watches, laptops, tablets, and PCs, it’s odd.

Google didn’t upgrade customers across Google Pay apps since they had different codebases. Both applications, named “Google Pay,” were available on the Play Store for a while. For months throughout the changeover, Google Pay wasn’t a dependable money-sending service that average people could use for P2P payments. Money sent via the new app didn’t appear on the old app, and vice versa.

Without CEO-led efforts, Google frequently feels unorganized and has fluctuating priorities. That means mid-level executives drive most Google projects and leave in disgrace or triumph when their great ideas fail. Caesar Sengupta, Google’s payments director from 2018–2021, purportedly directed the “new Google Pay” debacle. According to a 2021 Business Insider post, Sengupta’s 2018 priority after taking over the payments group was “bringing the US Google Pay app more in line with the version Google built for India.” This ambitious proposal included a “Google Plex.” bank account. You receive plastic cards and conduct all your banking via an app with these Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union-backed cards. Google’s public bank account backlog has 400,000 signups.

However, Sengupta’s division collapsed the moment the public saw his vision, therefore bank accounts never arrived. According to Business Insider, a former employee said the Indian app “wasn’t growing at the rate we wanted it to.” US customers rejected it. Google stated in its closure statement that the new Wallet app, a return to normal, is “used five times more than the Google Pay app in the US.” One month after shutting down Google Pay and making his new app required for US customers, Sengupta quit Google. Sengupta’s resignation caused a “mass exodus” of 40 payments division employees. A few months after Sengupta left, the bank account plan died.

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