Topic:
Google Wallet, "The App that makes your phone your wallet."
external image Google-Wallet.jpg


Description:
Now available on Nexus S 4G phones on the Sprint network, Google Wallet is an app with which one can upload/save CitiĀ® MasterCardĀ®, gift cards, and Google Prepaid Cards for use at various vendors across the United States. It stores virtual versions of your existing plastic cards on your phone. Simply tap your phone to pay and redeem offers using near field communication, or NFC. Goggle wallet has been designed for an open commerce ecosystem. With a simple tap of the phone with an active Google Wallet app, one can make purchases at stores whose checkouts have any of the following symbols:
external image 4.0_tap.pngexternal image 4.0_paypass.pngexternal image 4.0_walletaccepted.png

Merchants who accept Google Wallet payment include American Eagle, Office Max, Toys R' Us, Foot Locker, and Jack in the Box, with many more coming soon.

Google envisions this project as the next big "shift" in payment methods, utilizing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Their claim to "eventually hold many if not all of the cards you keep in your wallet today" will be more believable as the app expands to other phones on other networks and to other app markets (currently the app is only in the Android market, and only available for the Nexus S 4G on the Sprint network.)

Google Wallet is currently free to use. Google does not want user's money. Instead the company is interested in information regarding spending habits.

Here's an overview of the app, straight from Google's software engineers:
Google Wallet

A YouTube video demonstrating the advantages and uses of Google Wallet:



Applications:
This innovation could conceivably put an end to credit card fraud. With the information on one's credit cards being stored only electronically and in an encrypted format, the risks of using plastic to pay for merchandise might become virtually eliminated. Additionally, this type of payment syndication, assuming it becomes mainstream, will greatly increase the efficiency with which consumers make purchases and businesses perform transactions.

New possibilities to the technology include:
  1. Instant Payment for Merchandise: Pay for an item after you grab it from the shelf, thereby eliminating the need for a cashier.
  2. No Coupons Necessary: Scan a discount to your phone and store it for automatic use.

For consumers who don't have an NFC chip, a special sticker will be available that has the consumer's preferred credit card information embedded inside. The sticker would then be attached to the phone and can be used to communicate with the Google Wallet application. However, the main disadvantage with the sticker is that only one credit card can be attached.

Google's wallet app is even password protected. Your life could be ruined if you lost your wallet, but Google Wallet is secure, always.


Related Links:

http://www.google.com/wallet/where-it-works.html
http://googlewallets.blogspot.com/p/frequently-asked-questions-about-google.html
http://androidandme.com/2011/05/news/google-plans-to-make-special-google-wallet-stickers-for-phones-without-nfc/
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