Google Wallet for Digital Goods API is folding

Google's payment solution for in-browser purchases will be retired on March 2, 2015

Google is retiring its Google Wallet for Digital Goods API and is encouraging users to find other solutions. It will be retired on March 2, 2015, and Google has said there will be no replacement product.

The API was intended for selling digital goods via in-browser desktop and mobile Web apps. Google's move, however, only applies to Web developers accepting payments on their own sites. "It does not affect our other Wallet offerings," the company said. Services not affected include Instant Buy, the Google Wallet App, in-app payment services like Play In-app Billing, and Google marketplaces like Play Store. "If you don't have your own payment processing, you will need to transition to an alternate solution and remove calls to our APIs before March 2, 2015."

Believing Google Wallet merchants know their buyers best, Google encourages users to research payment processing solutions on their own. The company initially launched browser-based digital goods payments in 2011 with the intent of making it simple for game developers to accept payments for digital goods on their desktop gaming systems. "The industry has matured a lot since then, providing a number of alternative payment solutions to choose from."

Users of the API must remove client-side integration code, server-side code generating JWT (Java Web Token), and server-side code handling the postback.

An analyst sees consolidation forcing Google's move. "Seems to me that Google is consolidating and cleaning up their [array of] payment offerings, possibly to simplify or to prepare to reposition their payment product," said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group. "The space that they are leaving is getting crowded with specialists, like Braintree and Stripe, and I think that they were having a hard time delivering a product with differentiable value in the space."

Google Wallet buyers will not be proactively notified. "Keep in mind that if you do not remove your integration before March 2, 2015, your buyers will get 404 errors upon checking out with Google Wallet for digital goods API." Earlier this year, Google added PayPal as a payment option on Google Play, which previously was known as Android Market.

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