Is Google Wallet for real?

12 Oct

Tap, pay and save.

That’s the mantra for latest Next Big Thing out of Googledom.

Tap and pay with Google Wallet and MasterCard PayPass

Google Wallet (simple explanatory video here) aims to replace your traditional leather wallet with a free Android app that allows you to pay for your goods and services, and redeem coupons, by simply tapping your smartphone against any point-of-sale pad that shows the logo.

(Interesting insight shared by our recent mobile marketing guest speaker Simon Salt: you don’t actually have to tap your device against the pay pad. Your device will use Near Field Communication (NFC) – wireless date transmission technology – to communicate with the pad. The tap is useless and entirely to make users feel comfortable that the transaction has actually been initiated!)

During this softish-launch period, Google Wallet is only compatible with the Nexus S 4G device available on Sprint, and only supports two kinds of credit cards: Citi PayPass eligible MasterCards and the Google Prepaid card. But this is all going to change in a flurry.

Ok so that’s the lay of the land. Will the thing take off?

You bet your sweet bippy.

The ubiquity of the smartphone in our lives makes this technology certain of success. The only barrier I can see is the immediate heating up of competitive offerings which will create confusion in the consumer’s mind before the technology has even been fully understood or embraced.

But the hunger for ways to further empower our smartphones is apparently insatiable.

Google claims they have the security all sorted out and that uptake is brisk.

One thing to note before you throw out your old wallet in favour of Google’s: if your smartphone battery runs out, you are hooped and can’t pay for anything until it’s recharged.

So what do you think?

Ok, now here’s George Costanza getting the big picture.


8 Responses to “Is Google Wallet for real?”

  1. Jack October 12, 2011 at 10:24 am #


    Dick Martin just called from 1968 and would like his sweet bippy back.


  2. Doug Brown October 12, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    I wondered if anyone would get that…ha! (But Jeez Louise, did you have to date it?)

  3. margriet aasman October 12, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Oh darn… a month ago I bought myself a beautiful hand painted wallet. Parts of the images are just starting to wear into the leather and it’s such a pleasure to pull out of my purse… but I am such a sucker for my iphone, and this idea is just too great. But I am worried that it will become even more difficult to keep to keep the spending down.

  4. David Caughran (@westcoast_dave) October 12, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    That’s ok Jack. Judy Carne just gave Doug permission to use “Sock it to me” instead

  5. Doug Brown October 12, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    > Don’t despair Margriet. There are new leather smartphone holders that have pockets for things you can’t have on your device, like……. uh…

    > David, look THAT up in your Funk and Wagnall’s.

  6. Amy October 13, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Haven’t they been paying for things with cell phones in Japan for years? I’m too lazy to research it, but I thought I heard of this technology years ago being used overseas. That would be convenient, but if you are trying to buy something that requires an ID (cigs, liquor) you will still need your wallet. Until they make RFID chips mandatory, that is. 🙂

    Veeerrry interesting . . .

  7. Doug Brown October 13, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    That’s right Amy, the technology has been used in Japan and Korea for awhile now. But it seems it took Google’s reach and security platforms to make it palatable for the western masses. Along those lines, QR codes were being used in North Asia 7 years ago and are still trying to make inroads here. When it comes to these funky mobile tools, North America is just not as hip as the Asian market.

    But we have zombies, so that’s a consolation.

  8. Lynda Petek from December 14, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    The mobile payments business is banking on it. Google’s mobile payments app, Google Wallet, lets users pay for things and redeem offers by tapping their phones to an N.F.C.-enabled terminal. New York taxicabs were early adopters of the engineering.

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