The Google graveyard is getting more crowded. After announcing the Plex mobile-first bank accounts in November last year with Citibank and a few other financial institutions, Google is pulling back from the product. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is "abandoning plans to pitch bank accounts to its users."
A Google spokesperson told Engadget that it's "updating our approach to focus primarily on delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial services providers rather than us serving as the provider of these services."
Plex was initially positioned as an easy mobile-first way to open bank accounts, with Google providing the technology and app design and banks and credit providers backing the finances. It sounded more like a way to help institutions that didn't yet have a modern, competent app to team up with Google on one, which might be why major names like Bank of America and Capital One, who already had existing apps, weren't on the list of partners.
According to the Journal, a Citibank spokesperson said it plans to recommend other accounts to people who had already signed up for the Plex waiting list. The publication reports that the waiting list numbered about 400,000 people, and that the pandemic had thrown plans off schedule. The Journal also noted that "As late as this week, several banks were under the impression that the project would still move forward."
Though the Plex branding is going away, Google does appear to want to stick around in the financial services business. The spokesperson said that "We strongly believe that this is the best way for Google to help consumers gain better access to financial services and to help the financial services ecosystem connect more deeply with their customers in a digital environment.”
It may not a complete abandonment, but Plex joins a long list of other Google products that were cancelled or discontinued, like the Home Max speaker, Clips camera, Google+ and more.