androidThis year Google replaced Google Wallet with Android Pay. Google Wallet had been around since 2011, however the buzz around Apple’s Pay service has led to a re-branding and a re-strategising.

This new strategy is looking to bring ‘experience’ into the fold. But this isn’t hardware. There can be no splitting the difference over processing power, screen resolution or camera quality. Android Pay and Apple Pay have similarities beyond their initials. They both use tokenisation security and contactless near-field communication.


Google plan to make their experience ubiquitous by providing you with access to offers or as they’re commonly known- adverts. Their business model of surveillance will be used to target you with advertising.

One scenario that future users may encounter is a notification as they pass by a shop, ping goes your phone

“10% off at McDonalds when you Android Pay”

When Android Pay launches later this year it will be accepted at over 700,000 store and over 1,000 apps. Whole Foods, McDonalds, Uber and Chipotle are amongst the names already signed up.

By tying the operating system, Android, into the name Google is subtly removing itself from the equation in name at least. And its name that’s important- how many Android users know that Google is their developer?

Traditional business are keen to harness the power of corporate surveillance that has until now been the preserve of Silicon Valley companies. In exchange for deals, promotions and exclusivity business will want access to receipts. That way they can find out what sold, where and to who.

By doing this we can see how one method of advertising is taking supremacy, and is now spreading downwards. Cory Doctorow has some interesting ideas on this paradigm mutation. Writing in the Guardian Doctorow notes how Facebook’s advertising algorithms can be used to hold business to ransom.

When Facebook’s algorithms predict that a business is well and truly reliant upon Facebook to reach its customers, it simply switches off the business’s ability to reach those customers, so that new updates only go to a small fraction of the company’s followers. Thereafter, a Facebook salesperson gives the business a call and offer to turn the tap back on – for a price. That’s not the surveillance business-model. It’s a much older one: the drug- dealer business-model, where the first taste is free.

Dependency on data creates data gatekeepers. That’s the unseen power struggle that’s occurring when mega corporations are at play. So Android Play will be pretty much the same as using Apple Pay, except you will get some special adverts. Expect similar moves from Apple.