When Google announced the new Google Wallet in May, digital IDs were one of the main new features they highlighted as one of the reasons they reintroduced the “Wallet” name. While not supported at first, the idea was that one day, perhaps down the road, we’d be able to add a digital driver’s license or state ID to Google Wallet and truly ditch our physical double.
In an update that rolled out with Google Play Services v48.22 for December, Google suggested that it was going to open up Digital ID (driver’s license and state ID) as a Google Wallet beta feature.
In the latest changelog posted on the Google System Update support page, a bullet point under the Wallets section says the following:
[Phone] Beta feature to allow users from select US state(s) to digitize their state ID/driver’s license into Google Wallet for convenient, private and secure presentation.
There is a reference note that links this change to the Google Play Services version I mentioned above. We’re not sure if there’s an update to Google Wallet or a new way to opt-in to Google Wallet’s beta track to make this beta magic happen, but I imagine it will. I checked at the time of this posting and Google Wallet doesn’t have any beta opt-ins in the Play Store listing yet
Another key thing to consider here is the “Users from selected US state(s)” part. Most US states do not allow a state ID or driver’s license to be digitized. Apple recently launched Digital ID and so far, according to MacRumors, only 3 states are supported. Another 9 states have pledged their support down the road.
Unfortunately, this single line for a Google system update page is all we need to continue for now. This note sure feels like it needs a deeper announcement from Google.
We’ll update this post if we learn more.