Apple, which uses its iTunes accept/reject power to control potential rivals, is slightly loosening control on Google Wallet. A new update to the mobile app released on Monday (Dec. 15) now allows for extensive use of the iPhone’s Touch ID, enabling Google Wallet users to unlock the app with a fingerprint and the ability to see loyalty and giftcards while offline, notes Engadget, although iPhone NFC access is still blocked.
But Google has rolled out something else interesting: the ability to split charges. To be precise, it doesn’t really split the charge, in that the user who owns the app still must pay the entire bill, even if everyone involved has the Google Wallet iOS app installed. What does, though, is split up the cost according to whatever split you dictate and then said colleagues a reminder to cough up the cash. As Engadget put it: “They’ll then get a reminder to settle up, though they can choose to decline, as well. So, if you’re friends with someone who seems to ‘forget’ his wallet at home all the time, ask him to install the app. Just don’t be surprised if, next thing you know, he’s ‘lost’ his phone, as well.”
According to the Google Wallet’s iTunes listing, the new version (8.174.19) also supports—for the first time—native screen resolution on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It also, and this is as specific as the iTunes post got, “fixed problem that was preventing some users from opening the application.” Hmmmm. Wonder who might have had an incentive to cause that? (OK, we should dial back cynicism during the holiday season.)