X

A day in the life of a Google Wallet user (photos)

How far can you go just using Google Wallet? CNET finds out.

Roger_Cheng.jpg
bb-ces
Roger_Cheng.jpg

Roger Cheng

See full bio
bb-ces

Brian Bennett

See full bio
Google_Wallet00.JPG
1 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

How far can you go on Google Wallet?

We set out to learn just how well Google Wallet, Google's mobile-payment service, would serve the editors here at CNET's New York office. It's been a year since Google's ambitious project was announced, so how much has changed? Read on to see our results.
Google_Wallet01_-_Subway.JPG
2 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

Morning commute a no go

We encountered problems almost immediately. While select subway stations are outfitted with near-field communication (NFC) terminals that enable the tap-and-pay feature required for Google Wallet to work, the six-train subway stop near the office isn't one of them.
Google_Wallet02_-_Subway_Brian.JPG
3 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

Back to our MTA cards

Without any Google Wallet access, we were stuck cracking open our actual wallets and pulling out our MTA cards.
Google_Wallet05_-_7-11_-_Coffee.JPG
4 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

The hunt for morning coffee

Who doesn't like coffee in the morning? Unfortunately, the Starbucks near our office doesn't accept Google Wallet (it has its own smartphone app), so we trekked a bit further away to a 7-Eleven that took Google Wallet.
Google_Wallet03_-_7-11_-_Error.JPG
5 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

Google Wallet's first glitch

The experience at 7-Eleven wasn't exactly smooth. The Sprint Nextel Evo 4G LTE by HTC initially didn't register at the payment terminal, despite the MasterCard PayPass and NFC logos. It required a reboot of the phone for Google Wallet to finally work.
Google_Wallet06_-_McD_Error.JPG
6 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

Lunchtime fail

Time for lunch, and what better place than the neighborhood McDonald's. Despite taking NFC payments, our local chain's terminals would not work with the phone. We tried three times and got the same error message warning us that the tap may not have been successful, and to ask the cashier to confirm.
Google_Wallet07_-_McD_Big_Mac.JPG
7 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

Google Wallet and Big Mac combo

Apparently, Google Wallet and the Big Mac do not make for a happy meal. But we were hungry and ended up paying in cash.
Google_Wallet08_-_Duane_Reade.JPG
8 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

Smoothly running errands

Senior editor Brian Bennett needed some toiletries for an upcoming business trip, so we dropped by the Duane Reade drug store after lunch. Duane Reade was among the early partners for Google Wallet, and we were able to use the phone to pay with little problem. It's telling that the woman working the register was as surprised and impressed by the capability as she was -- there probably aren't too many Google Wallet users walking into the store.
Google_Wallet10_-_Cab.JPG
9 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

New York cabs take Google Wallet

We caught a cab to an after-work dessert spot. Fortunately, every cab in New York is supposed to be outfitted with a credit-card reader, with nearly all accepting NFC payments.
Google_Wallet09_-_Cab_error.JPG
10 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

An awkward moment

We experienced perhaps the longest reboot of our lives as we restarted the Evo 4G LTE again to reactivate the glitch-plagued Google Wallet capability. For the second time that day, the payment capability wouldn't register until we restarted the phone, an act that had our cab driver stewing in angry silence.
Google_Wallet13_-_Pinkberry_2.JPG
11 of 11 Roger Cheng/CNET

End-of-day treat

Since few restaurants take Google Wallet, we opted to end the day on a sweet note at a Pinkberry fro-yo place. Unfortunately, we experienced the same error as we did at McDonald's, where all of the infrastructure was in place, but the cash register refused to accept the payment. Pinkberry is among the chains that are supposed to accept Google Wallet, so we diligently found another one where the transaction went through smoothly.

More Galleries

Our Favorite Google Doodles Through the Years

More Galleries

Our Favorite Google Doodles Through the Years

49 Photos
2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
The 42 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 42 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

43 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

82 Photos
Czinger 21C Hypercar Is the Future of Auto Manufacturing

More Galleries

Czinger 21C Hypercar Is the Future of Auto Manufacturing

64 Photos
59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

More Galleries

59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

62 Photos
Dodge Hornet Is a New Compact Crossover Focused on Affordable Performance

More Galleries

Dodge Hornet Is a New Compact Crossover Focused on Affordable Performance

21 Photos