The future of e-commerce is here, but it only works for Sprint customers with a Nexus S 4G handset. Our take is that an iPhone app is in the works as we speak. Apple fans are simply too big a market for e-wallet too ignore.
Boom, Google Wallet has gone live at the just-finished presser in Google’s New York office. The search Goliath means business, that’s for sure. They’ve managed to convince the journos like us who have seen it all that Google Wallet is no toy. We have here an end-to-end mobile payment solution which quite possibly marks an inflection point in e-commerce. I ain’t drinking Google’s Kool-Aid, bear with me for a sec.
There are two pieces to it: Google Wallet itself, which runs as a native app on your mobile device equipped with an NFC chip, and Google Offers, a Groupon-like service providing rebates, savings and offers that can be easily redeemed on your device, at the points of sale. One click on an offer on the web sends the coupon over-the-air to your devices authorized for Google Wallet. You can also use your device’s camera to snap the Google Offers icon found on printed marketing materials such as in-store posters, banners, print ads and so forth.
Googlers love Macs. The above screengrab is from the Google Wallet promo shown at the presser (it’s not yet available on YouTube). The highly polished clip has iMacs all over the place.
Paying for goods is a one-tap affair involving waving your device in front of the wireless payment terminal at participating merchants. The transaction is processed within seconds and directly settled with your issuing bank. In addition, your device negotiates with the merchant’s terminal to automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you. Someday, Google boldly proclaimed, stuff like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys will be stored in your Google Wallet. You will also get electronic receipts that will eliminate bills on paper. Looking good so far. What’s the catch?
The keynote demonstration had Google’s speaker buying a shorts for his daughter. He waived the phone and the clerk’s terminal took into account his loyalty card and automatically deducted his saved coupon. The live transaction was handled successfully in the second try.
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