Traditional physical wallets are being steadily displaced by Google Wallet. After adding support for driver’s licenses in Maryland last year, Google earlier this year added support for transit passes, company IDs, and health insurance cards. Similar to the four states available through Apple Wallet, Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia customers can currently add their official state identity to Google Wallet.
Users can launch Google Wallet and select “Add to Wallet” in the bottom-right corner to get started. After selecting this, a list of products can be added, including gift cards, transport passes, loyalty cards, and payment cards. They can “ID card” after which they will be asked to select one of four states after reading a brief notification outlining where to use the digital version of their license.
Users will be asked to scan their identity card’s front and back after choosing their state. They will also need to record a brief video that will be forwarded for verification to the state’s issuing body, establishing both your identity as a real person and your ownership of the ID.
Google emphasizes that the identification stored in a person’s Google Wallet is just as useful as a real ID card. Its current applications, though, are fairly constrained. Because the program is still in its early stages, it is still strongly encouraged to bring an actual ID when passing through certain TSA checkpoints. Google did promise that there will be more applications in the future, such as the ability to hire a car using just a digital ID.
With this digital ID feature, security issues are undoubtedly raised. When linking an ID to your Wallet, Google, however, immediately takes action to mitigate these worries. The encrypted digital ID is only saved on the device when it has been approved, according to a message. The user is in complete control of how it is viewed and managed on their device, as well as when and how their ID is shared. The user’s license is solely held locally on their device, unlike many smartphone features with cloud backups.
Currently, just four states offer digital identification cards, but over 30 more are in the process of doing so. California, for example, has a digital ID card, but it can only be accessed through a different app from Apple Wallet or Google Wallet.
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