Can Google Wallet Change The World?

On rumors that Google is ready to release its Wallet service, analysts are asking what it means for the search giant, other mobile payment services, and the future of local commerce in general. Not much, suggests Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling -- at least initially. That's because, for now, only a small group of consumers will have access to Google Wallet. "There are only a handful of merchant and retail partners and only one handset currently [near field communication]-enabled,'' Sterling notes.

Still, the debut has weighty symbolic implications, according to Sterling. "Because of Google's brand clout and visibility mobile payments are now on the radar," he writes. "And intensifying competition guarantees innovation will continue to happen." What are Google Wallet's chances for success?

Well, along with first-movers advantage, other players in the space -- Visa, Amex, Intuit, PayPal, and Square -- don't rely on NFC technology like Google Wallet does. "Changing consumer behavior could prove challenging in the near term," Sterling adds.

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