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Google Undrapes Wallet, it’s NFC Enabled Mobile Payment Solution
By: Prashanth Shantharam  |  27, May 2011

Google raised the curtains on its mobile payment product, and demoed the NFC driven ‘Wallet’, in its NYC offices today. Consumers can soon use their smartphones to tap and pay for their purchases at various retail outlets. Currently, the service is being rolled out on Sprint’s Nexus One at SFO and NY as test markets. Support for other phones & cities is expected soon.

Google Wallet addresses two large segments: Users and Retailers. Its goal is to enable users to easily pay for the products/services across large and small retail outlets and even earn loyalty and discounts offered by retailers. And in the process bridge the gap between the online and offline shopping worlds.

Here’s a look at Wallet’s key features and functionality – Google Wallet is essentially a mobile app that can store ‘credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and giftcards’. Users with an NFC-enabled Android phone can load up their credit card deets ( Citi Mastercard for now) or top up their Google prepaid card onto the app. The app also enables users to keep track of their loyalty card information provided by retailers. Google’s Groupon-esque daily deal service is also compatible with the app and users can launch the offers from their phone. Discounts from NFC-enabled retailer posters could be synced onto the phone, to be redeemed later at a retailer. Retailers could pass digital receipts making the entire experience totally paperless!

Google states that ‘someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet’. Google expects by 2014, 50% of smartphones would be NFC enabled. As openness is in their DNA, they are pushing for a mobile payment platform that could potentially have multiple stakeholders in the future.

“With Google Wallet, we’re building an open commerce ecosystem, and we’re planning to develop APIs that will enable integration with numerous partners”.

Google also pushes the concept of MoLo, where mobile and local commerce merge in the offline world.

“We’re announcing our first steps in making this vision a reality. It will take a while. But we plan to invest with Mastercard and Citi to create an open source system.”

Have a look at Google Wallet’s retail partner video

With their Mastercard partnership alone, Google technically has access to 300K retailers across the world and 120K in the U.S. Of course, the global roll out could take time, based on the reception from its SFO and NYC test markets.

The simplicity, ease of use and many layers of security that Google claims its Wallet provides to users, could ensure faster uptakes. Check out the video below where the guys from laptopmag.com demo how easy its is to tap and pay from a smartphone at a vending machine.

This however is just the beginning and it remains to be seen how the m-commerce ecosystem pans out. With Square recently launching upgrades to its payments system, and the secretive Apple rumored to be working on their own NFC enable iPhones, mobile payments along with contact-less smartcard payments could potentially make paper currency almost obsolete!

Images + Video1 Credit: Google

Video2 Credit: laptopmag.com


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Surfmobee is a site dedicated to providing intelligence on the mobile ecosystem. We track the mobile r/evolution everyday by covering news, reviews, and analysis. We profile emerging and existing ecosystem firms and highlight their innovation and impact to this space. We also periodically publish insightful research that elucidate on the mobile universe issues, opportunities and trends
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