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.