Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has finally launched its much-rumored Google Wallet mobile payments platform. It's initially available only on the Nexus S 4G, with Sprint (NYSE:S). So no love for a possible NFC-enabled iPhone 5, then. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers pay it forward.
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Feel the Force (Yoda Remixed)...
Matt Hamblen reports, without rambling:
[It] launches initially for Citi MasterCard credit card holders, but Google also said...Visa, Discover and American Express will [work in] future.
...[It] works with MasterCard PayPass payment terminals...via wireless Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Users must enter a PIN [for] each payment [and then] pass...the Nexus S phone close to the payment terminal. ... Visa said...that its has licensed Google to use Visa's PayWave technology...[but] didn't describe a timeline.
Casey Johnston adds:
What Googles NFC and Google account integration will bring to the fight is...the opportunity to track customers even more closely. ... Google can track the offline...habits of its users as closely as those online. ... Google could offer even more seamless ad integration. ... This has been referred to as the closed loop, where no consumer purchase escapes...to the delight of retailers, market researchers, and everyone in between.
...Google Wallet also arrives under the shadow of a lawsuit from PayPal...[which] sued Google...saying it stole trade secrets, as well as key employees...including then-senior executive at PayPal Osama Bedier.
Google's Osama Bedier is fed up of the jokes about his name:
Weve been testing it extensively, and today were releasing the first version of the app. ... Google Wallet enables you to pay with your Citi MasterCard...and the Google Prepaid Card, which can be funded with any of your existing plastic.
...[W]ere adding a $10 free bonus to the Google Prepaid Card if you set it up in Google Wallet before the end of the year. ... Our goal is to make it possible for you to...say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets.
But Frederic Lardinois pours cold water on the idea:
After introducing the service in May and launching a limited trial at the time, Google...launched it nationwide. ... [But] todays launch is really more of an expanded field trial...most of us wont be able to use it anytime soon.
...Im not sure the market in the U.S. is really ready for NFC. ... For most users, paying by phone is also more of a hassle than just swiping a credit card. ... Using an NFC-enabled electronic wallet...isnt significantly more convenient than just using a credit card.
Although Greg Kumparak offers a more nuanced view:
Google Wallet is...in theory more secure than...plastic. ... If your phones screen is off, the transmitter chip can not be powered. ... When Wallet works (as it did for nearly all of the transactions I tried)...it works really, really well. Its lightning fast, ultra-intuitive. ... The merchant simply sees it run through their point of sales machine as any other card might.
[The] application...display[s] all compatible retailers near...any location. ... The list of compatible retailers within a 5-mile radius of my home was...almost entirely made up of Jack In The Boxes, CVSes, and 7-11s. [This is] one of Googles biggest challenges: getting these card readers everywhere.
...Google Wallet is great, magical, impressive. ... But todays launch is just a small, but meaningful, first step.
Feel the Force (Yoda Remixed)
[Stick with it -- it'll grow on you]
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.