Google is going to begin handing out plastic cards tied to Google Wallet accounts that can be used like debit and credit cards, the company said Wednesday.
Google Wallet has been something of a weird product for Google, in part because it never really gained attention compared to alternatives like Square or Venmo. At one point, plans for the plastic card were shelved ahead of its annual developers conference.
A plastic card makes it easier for its users to pay using Google Wallet in places they might not otherwise do so, like at restaurants or where the infrastructure to pay with Google Wallet didn't exist (for which it did not in many, many, many places). One of the big differences here, however, is Google Wallet users can actually withdraw money from their Google Wallet account from ATMs much in the same way as a debit card.
Google already knows a lot about its users, but if it can add information about a user's spending habits, that would go a long way to understand that person even better. The better Google understands one of its users, the better it can serve ads, and thus sell more expensive ads to advertisers.
It does seem that Wallet is still alive and kicking at Google.
Matthew Lynley is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News in San Francisco. Lynley reports on Silicon Valley and the tech industry.
Contact Matthew Lynley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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