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Google Removes Privacy Concerns with Latest Wallet Update for Developers

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Back in February, the Android community was in a buzz over allegations that Google was sending their personal information to developers. We did our own investigation and laid out the facts as we saw them. In an update for Google Wallet (not the app, the commerce site), rolling out over the next few weeks, Google looks to be addressing those allegations and alleviating any remaining concerns people might have. We’ve got access to the new Wallet Merchant Center and are ready to dive in and put this issue to rest indefinitely. 

The most obvious change is the layout and design, which mimics the improvements Google has been making across their products. In the old checkout listing, the customer’s name was a part of the order details column, but this is no longer the case. Instead, the developer is just presented with an anonymous list of app purchases, albeit in a much cleaner presentation. They’ve also removed the charge/ship columns as those never made sense for digital products. It looks like Google has finally made the system a bit more friendly for app developers. Check out a comparison of the new (on the left) vs the current.

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Looking at the order details page, we can confirm that Google has gone one step further. Developers are no longer presented with the customer name or their email. All that remains is the general location of the purchase, which is needed for tax purposes. Information is now condensed and offers a fresh presentation. Good job, Google.

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Privacy is such a hot topic these days and it’s surprisingly refreshing when a change is made in the consumer’s favor. Google has been under fire regarding their privacy policy and this improvement, while probably unrelated, will certainly earn them some brownie points from concerned web denizens. The updated Google Wallet Merchant Center is currently rolling out to developers over the next few weeks.

  • John

    google dropped the ball on this one… now have to ask customers for order numbers and ect in order to give support im starting to think google does not like the app developers they are always messing with our money.. I think one day all dev should unpublish there apps for a few days to send a msg to google. they take 30% of sales from us

  • Simon Belmont

    Wow. Nice to see Google step up on this.

    I wonder if Microsoft’s Scroogled advertisement on this that I saw on TV accelerated this change. Too bad Microsoft can’t take the high road in their anti-Google advertising.

  • http://twitter.com/NotAdamCollins Adam Collins

    Any way I can get google wallet on my VZW Gnex? Updated APK or something? Please?

    • umataro42

      Here’s a link to XDA where they provide the APK:
      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2122313&highlight=wallet

      Or if you don’t trust anyone else and you have a Nexus 7 (or other officially compatible device) you can copy the APK from there and dropbox it to your GNex.

      • http://twitter.com/NotAdamCollins Adam Collins

        Figured it out, might have used that apk I can’t remember haha but it’s working now! Thanks :)

  • Mike Reid

    As an app dev, Yuck !

    I get WAY too many tech support emails from pirates, every day. If I haven’t heard from someone before, I check their email and name across the orders list.

    Now I’m going to have to ask all these new people for order numbers or dates and exactish times. IE, “prove” you are a legitimate customer first before I spend 5-10-20 minutes helping you.

    I hate this.

    • http://geniousatplay.blogspot.com/ Bikram Agarwal

      My thoughts exactly. This one is a big downer. No email id, no name…!!? How are developers’ supposed to provide support to a buyer who sends a mail. Increases number of steps required to verify whether he is actual buyer or pirate. This helps neither the developer nor the buyer.

      And removed the time from the ‘sale date’ column. X-(. I check my orders page to keep track of when was the last time someone bought something. (Not a top shelf developer, so not getting hundreds of downloads every hour). Now, that’s gone too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000615318329 Kevin Kaykay Kim

      I’m a dev and while I’m not exactly in love with way pirates work either, you also have to realize that people who tech support email you probably would find bigger bugs then people who pay for, as they think leaving reviews and comments gets more attention then leaving email.

      All in all, unfortunately, they’re pirating your stuff because they love it. Wide open admitting you hate non-paying users is a bit of a douchebag move.

    • Alvin Brinson

      Look at it as a conversion opportunity. If I theoretically had pirated an app, and the developer took the time to personally address an issue I encountered, I would feel very guilty about not then going and purchasing the app. Contrast that to apps I have bought, had legitimate problems with that were not user error, and got ignored by the developer when I emailed them, got sent back a form response, or told to file a bug in a very user unfriendly bug tracker. Those developers make me wish I could un-buy their apps.

  • Gs

    Anyone know how to make google wallet stop sending receipts every time a purchase is made? Really annoying. I know I can label and move but I’d rather just turn it off if possible

    • http://twitter.com/NovembersDirge The Observer

      From what i’ve read, it’s a legal requirement that those receipts be sent.

      • GS

        Odd. A standard debit/credit card doesn’t need to do that, monthly statements yes but not individual transactions. I could deal with a weekly/monthly summary email but I get them for each transaction which is annoying.

        • David LeGates

          I have been wondering this myself. It is really annoying the most aggravating part is that they’re always like a day late! Its like, if ur gonna email me every time I spend money, at least do it right away! Then it would make sense, if they’re legally required to do it, so that if unauthorized spending started to occur you could actually do something about it. With the way it stands now, your accounts would be long emptied and collecting dust before the first email came in! Useless! Lol

    • Mike Reid

      Probably no way to turn off. Nothing under Google Checkout merchant settings except stuff about me and my bank account etc.

      I’ve never gotten an email for each order though. Only for the cancelled orders, which is a substantial fraction of completed orders. That REALLY annoys me since there’s no package being sent that I should keep from sending or other action for me to take.

  • t3chi3

    Hopefully this means I’ll be able to use this on my Note 2 soon…

    • JetBlue

      If it’s on Verizon I doubt it.

      • t3chi3

        Shhh. We don’t say the “V” word here.

        • michael arazan

          The name that shall not be spoken, must clear the air now: CLATTO VERATA NICTO, It’s all cool now removed the hex

    • umataro42

      “(not the app, the commerce site)”

      Nope.