It is never a complete day in tech-related news unless Google is mentioned.
The gargantuan company with global reach has released Google Wallet, the next step in turning our cell phones into true ‘all-in-one’ devices. After much hype surrounding the world of near field communications technology and mobile payments, Google released its Wallet service to a limited market of Sprint customers on Samsung Nexus S 4G handsets.
Key advances in NFC technology and a partnership with MasterCard has allowed the global conglomerate to enter into the not-so-developed world of mobile payments. MasterCard’s PayPass system, one of the more recognizable ‘tap to pay’ services, has seen moderate success over the past decade. Google, however, envisions a world where the only leather holding your money is that of your cell phone cases.
”Our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets. In fact, we’ve got a video of our first customer, someone who is ready to replace his famously over-stuffed wallet,” says Google in their official blog.
For its limited initial release, Google Wallet works with point of sale devices already using PayPass. Phones embedded with NFC chips and the Wallet app store your money, via Citi MasterCard or a Google Prepaid Card, which accepts funding from all major credit card companies. Customers can pay by entering a PIN number and tapping their phone on the vendor’s point of sale device for a smooth transaction.
Google is not the only company making a bold venture into a walletless future. Isis, a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, is a contender in the making which promises support for all major credit card companies. Visa’s payWave, akin to MasterCard’s PayPass, allows contactless payments using a modified phone case or microSD card. RIM recently partnered with HID Global and will be releasing NFC-embedded phones in the future. Apple and Microsoft have rumored dealings with NFC technology as well.
All of these companies look to address issues caused by our paper and plastic. Engadget’s week with Google Wallet brings up a couple of key concerns, the most obvious regarding drained cell phone batteries. As Google continues to release and refine Wallet through more carriers, devices, and credit card companies, their hope is that customers will be more apt to adopt the wallet that does not fold.