Yesterday, Google officially announced the launch of their latest product, Google Wallet, at a joint press conference in New York with MasterCard and Citibank. Initially available on the company’s Android mobile handset (with plans to roll out the technology across other mobile platforms), users will be able to wave their phone in front of an in-store reader to make purchases in stores.
Barclaycard have been utilising the Near Field communications (NFC) technology for the last few years now, with their contactless payment readers in many stores across the UK. However, the real benefit of Google’s venture is that not only will you be able to partner it with more than one credit card, but in the future you will also be able to link your store loyalty cards and coupons.
Combining this with Google’s Groupon competitor, Google Offers, also launched this week, suddenly bells start to ring, and you realise that Google, with its primary school colours, left the start line a long time ago, and the competition are still tying their shoe laces. Rather than emailing customers with 2-for-1 deals on their Wednesday night dinners at Pizza Express, Google will have the ability to slip coupons right into consumers’ wallets. Combine this with GPS and the possibilities for advertisers, for brands… It’s endless!
It’s not all clear skies for Google though. PayPal filed a law suit in California against Google, alleging that the search giant hired two former PayPal executives to obtain trade secrets for the project.
But in the grand scheme of things, I don’t see Google loosing much sleep over this. Because whilst other internet giants have been stealing the headlines recently, Google are about to assert their dominance as kings of the internet. So it’s time to say goodbye to the faithful leather friend in your back pocket that you’ve relied on so much to keep your financial life in order. Your mobile phone’s had front pocket real estate privilege for some time now anyway.