Google Banks On Wallet


Google is updating the Wallet Web site to highlight stores and features that offer the company's latest mobile payment service. Expected to launch Monday (or sometime soon), according to reports, the service will initially have support from about one million payment readers and software designed by ViVOtech, which processes transactions based on near field communication (NFC) technology and other over-the-air (OTA) technologies to securely provision credit, debit, prepaid, coupon and other types of accounts to mobile phones.

For marketers who don't think this technology will gain rapid traction, take a moment to go to the Google Wallet Web site and type in a ZIP postal code. It may surprise you when you discover the nearby stores that support the technology. It did me. Even in Newport Beach, consumers will find seven locations that support the technology such as Rite Aid, 7-Eleven, CVS, and Circle K.



ViVOtech founder Mohammad Khan said Google licenses his company's technology to enable transactions. He estimates that his company holds 70% market share worldwide for NFC payment software and readers. The software allows consumers to download plastic credit cards into their NFC-enabled smartphone to support everything from Google Wallet to smart posters that enable consumers to download coupons onto their phones or make purchases.

Marketers will have an option to link paid-search ads with offers and coupons found on smart ads on posters or when paying for goods at POS terminals. It also will link in with Google Offers, Google's daily deal service. It's important to get the consumer interested in trying the product. Consumer interest gained from providing a means to try a new product or service can also support search engine optimization and rankings.

NFC is not entirely new, but Google will provide the fodder to set mobile payments on fire. ViVOtech's first smart poster pilot for MasterCard took place in Taiwan in February 2007, but companies have been working to improve it since the early 2000s. The NFC Forum, created around 2004, provided the foundation to build specifications with help from wireless radio frequency industry experts worldwide.

Citi PayPass and MasterCard credit cards support Google Wallet transactions on Android. While NFC is not new, MasterCard reportedly is tinkering with a new technology called QkR -- a takeoff on QR, or quick response, codes.

Evidently, MasterCard Labs has been working on a QkR technology feature that allows consumers to make a purchase on television with a wave of a hand when supported by a Microsoft Xbox Kinect. Imagine that.

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