Monday, May 27, 2013

Google Wallet Objects

During Google I/O there were several presentations about Google Wallet Objects.

Although the documentation is not public one can get a few ideas what those objects are.

What I find interesting is that we at T-Labs named the "things" inside our wallet "objects" too.

Well, at first we just called them "cards" and the wallet is a card selector. The cards can be anything: payment cards, train tickets, loyalty cards, car keys, coupons. Everything that is in your wallet.

Others called the "things" in the wallet "service". Some defined them just to be links to app on the same device as the wallet. Some defined them as meta data, that describes the service, the issuer, the service endpoints, the protocols needed to get tokens from the endpoints and so forth. Some objects contain code that is executed by the wallet.

Our T-Labs wallet objects are currently called "items" and they are all of the above.
They represent all the items in your wallet. It does not matter whether we call them items or objects.
It does not matter (much) what the import format is: XML or JSON? Currently we are using an extended OASIS IMI format. In the extensions you can specify things like "app" for a wallet external  application that provides extra functions of an item. Or you can specify "AID" to tell the wallet which cardlet on the SIM the item uses/needs.

What is important in Google's presentations is the ecosystem they are building around the wallet. Urban Airship, a Google Wallet Sandbox partner, has build a tool that makes it easy for wallet partners to create "objects". This is exactly what T-Labs demoed at the Cebit 2012 computer fair.
It has to be easy for partners to build the wallet objects/items. Most partners should not have to care about the wallet object's format. It has to be easy to create and to deploy items to the wallet.

I believe that the formats and protocols in the wallet ecosystem have to be open.
I believe that the users should control the wallet objects: what item is in the wallet.

Though I disagree with some of Google's decisions.
  • Why keep the format and protocols kind of secret? 
  • Why the restrictions? I find it laughable to try to ban "abortion". Well, maybe it is not funny.It is the user's wallet. If they want a service then the wallet should not prevent it.
    Google controls the wallet. It is Google's wallet. It is not the user's wallet. #fail
  • Why not the slightest hint to support online identity? Why not use e.g. your loyalty card or your club card to login into your favorite soccer club's fan site and online shop?
Building the whole ecosystem at once is the right way. Calling the items "objects" is a nice coincident to my work.
Interesting times...

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