The internet is buzzing about the launch of the Google Wallet. It made its big debut yesterday. Google announced the service this past May, but the wait seems to be almost over as more payment modules are beginning to appear at various retailers. Google has been testing the Wallet at retailers in recent months and although they said the service would launch over the summer, various reports of a “soft launch” are beginning to come out as today being the day. Technically summer isn’t over until the 22nd of September, so it looks like Google will hit their deadline, barely! (Check out The First Google Wallet Customer)
So what is the Google Wallet? Well, it is a mobile payment system that will store credit cards, loyalty cards and gift cards using an Android app on your smartphone. Once you’ve downloaded the app and installed it, you will just tap your phone on a PayPass reader when you are checking out at participating stores. Payment and loyalty program information are instantly transmitted through your phones NFC Chip (Near Field Communication).
Unfortunately, only the Nexus S 4G Sprint phone is compatible with the Google Wallet at the time of the launch. Google Wallet will also only work with Citi MasterCard Accounts that are PayPass compatible and the Google Prepaid Card. Now while this is a total bummer for people like me who do not have that type of phone and service, I also think that is really smart of Google to do. Of course there are going to be issues in the beginning, like all new app’s and software, so before they roll it out to the masses they will be able to get the kinks worked out. It also makes sense for Google to get the Wallet out now before the next major Android phone comes out next month, the Nexus Prime. This phone will also have NFC capabilities built in and will bring the Wallet function to the very large Verizon customer base.
I’m sure you’re wondering what the Near Field Communication Technology is, as I was just a few hours ago. Well NFC is a wireless technology that enables data transmission between two objects when they are brought within a few inches of each other. Smartphones enabled with NFC technology can exchange data with other NFC enabled devices or read information from smart tags embedded in posters, stickers and other products. Pretty cool, huh?
Google is hoping that its tap-and-pay system will one day (sooner rather than later) convince you to replace your wallet, plastic credit cards and coupons. I think this is inevitable anyways, and Google, like always, is just the first one to break through with the software. Once the product becomes available to my service provider, I plan on getting it right away because I personally hate carrying around all of my cards and coupons. As a St. Louis SEO and Social Media firm, the Google Wallet is going to help our customers in retail exponentially once it is available to all phone services. It will make it that much easier for their customers to purchase items quickly and efficiently.[Via: TechCrunch, SportSocial, Image Credit: Gigaom]