Google Loses Control As Retailers Push Out Wallet

Retailers are starting to outrun Google when it comes to Google Wallet. On Tuesday (Oct. 11), the $334 million Peet's Coffee chain announced that, by the end of October, it will upgrade POS devices to accept Google Wallet payments at all 193 company-owned stores—not just the ones in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., where Google Wallet was officially rolled out in late September. Peet's is working fast—American Eagle Outfitters didn't even officially launch Google Wallet in the target cities until Wednesday (Oct. 12), although AEO actually had it working in some stores a month ago.

If Google was hoping for an orderly Wallet rollout, it may be out of luck. There's only so long the window will stay open for retailers to look cool by offering mobile payments—once customers get used to it, Google Wallet will be more useful but not nearly so interesting. That means at least some smaller retailers may be in a race to get Google Wallet running in as many locations as possible, never mind Google's plans. And once retailers, not Google, are calling the shots on the mobile-payments rollout, that's control that Google may never recapture.