Google Wallet: A Revolution for Commerce
5/26/11 Google announced that they will soon be launching Google Wallet and Google Offers. With the introduction of Google Wallet, Google has solified themselves as leaders in the mobile commerce (m-commerce) market. Using Google Wallet, you will now be able to use your phone to make transactions using a technology called "near-field communication."
Google Wallet will allow you to store your credit cards in a secure platform so that you can pay with a touch. Will this phase out credit cards? It's too early to tell, but it certainly seems to be a step in that direction.
It doesn't appear that any phone will work with Google Wallet, you need to have a NFC chip on your phone. I would imagine that this technology will be integrated into upcoming mobile devices relatively quickly. For those of you who are still stuck in the dark ages, you will be able to pick up a fancy sticker that will give your phone the ability to use NFC chips.
Google Offers adds some additional functionalities that will allow folks to store coupons, gift cards, and loyalty cards that they acquire from tapping their phone on these posters with NFC chips in them. They can then redeem the coupons at a later date. I could see this being incredibly helpful at supermarkets and stores like Costco that have membership based discounts.
What is Google's motivation behind this new technology? Google is looking to acquire as much data as possible about consumer buying habits. This will allow them to improve their Adwords advertising system so that the most relevant ads are displayed at the right times. "But Google's interest here isn't in the payments, it's in the data that underlies the complete chain of commerce including consideration, promotion, transaction details, coupons and receipts," said Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin.
In the words of my friend, Mike (http://aprogblog.wordpress.com/), "how long until your mother buys an entire shoe store by accident because she doesn't know how to use her phone?"