Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

Summary: When I moved away to go to college, my parents gave me a credit card for emergency use. As a cash-strapped student, there were many instances when starvation was my emergency.

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When I moved away to go to college, my parents gave me a credit card for emergency use. As a cash-strapped student, there were many instances when starvation was my emergency. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating the starvation part but the credit card was definitely something that could have been used for groceries - if any grocery stores back then would have accepted credit cards. Today, of course, anyone would be surprised if a merchant didn't accept the swipe of a card for payment.

But the point here is that, while it may be hard to imagine that we'll just wave our mobile phones in front of some reader at the grocery checkout counter someday, the concept is very much a real part of our future. And, according to a Bloomberg report this week, Google may be the company to lead the change.

The report said that Google is considering building a payment an advertising service that would let users buy goods by tapping or waving their mobile phones, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the plan. They said the service, which would be based on near field communication (NFC) technology. could debut this year.

At the Web 2.0 summit in November, Google CEO Eric Schmidt showed off an “unannounced device that I carry around,” a T-Mobile-powered phone using an NFC  chip that he said could eventually replace the credit card. He didn't have much to say about it at the time but did note that Google has no desire to get into the same business as an Amazon or iTunes, which collects credit card numbers for transactions. Instead, he sees Google as being the technology provider, with a service like Google Checkout being only a part of it.

Google isn't the only one with its eyes on the NFC market, which is expected to represent a sizable chuck of the global mobile-payment market in the coming years. In November, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless formed a joint venture, called ISIS, that will focus on building a national mobile commerce network with an initial focus on point-of-sale purchases. At the time, it said it expects roll out service in around mid-2012. ISIS spokesperson Jaymee Johnson told Bloomberg:

It's a land grab. Folks are sort of jockeying for position.

Google wouldn't confirm the report for Bloomberg, but it's not too much a reach of the imagination to believe it. I'm hoping that, by the time my own kids get to college, I'll be able to upload some grocery money to their bank accounts and that they'll be able fight off starvation simply by waving their phones at the checkout counter.

Topics: Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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13 comments
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  • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

    I think this is a brilliant idea. Have thought about it before and it's great that it's coming to light now.
    thedunge
    • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

      @thedunge

      It will also be brilliant when others with their laptops come by you hack your phone and steal your money right? Bout that...
      audidiablo
  • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

    Are we REALLY getting that lazy that we can't take out a CC and swipe it, punch in a PIN and put the CC back? Silly question - I know - just look at the stats about America's obesity epidemic. Of course, this means that we'll be disputing charges that we say that we really didn't make but because we walked too close to a receiver or set our phone down to close to the receiver that we were inadvertantly charged for something we didn't receive. This will then put the retailer in charge of spreading the duped charges out to everyone to recoup their losses. Neat technology - yes. Necessary technology - not too sure about that. Didn't our brush with this technology earlier in the form of those gas station key fobs that you were meant to 'wave' in front of the gas station pump teach us anything? Those didn't last very long either. First, all you had to do was pass it in front of the pump. Then, because of complaints they added the requirement of having to enter a pin number after the 'wave' (so much for convenience). Shortly after that the fobs all went away. Another short-lived gimic - part duo.- coming up.
    teknicalservices
    • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

      @teknicalservices
      People used to say the same thing about "Getting out a checkbook, writing a check, and signing it!"

      The point is, yes, things can always get faster and more streamlined.
      Droid101
  • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

    No.
    james347
  • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

    If Google is involved then I will have no part of this. They have a terrible security record and their employees are immoral by spying on you. The last thing I'd want is my CC number getting into the hands of a Google employee. Just think of all the extra office toys he could buy with my money. Not only that, but because they don't give a rat's butt about security they would end up posting that information online with Buzz. Besides, this technology has been around for a while, I see it at the gas stations all the time where you just swipe a card over the pad and it deducts it. Again, Google is late to the party by waiting to see what others have already done. This is the absolute worst thing Google could do.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

      @Loverock Davidson

      Agreed. Before you know it your Android phone will start playing advertisements to your while you're walking and then turn the mic on to hear where you are and what you're talking about in order to "better advertise to you" later. Scroogle Foolgle.
      audidiablo
    • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

      @Loverock Davidson Do you walk down the street with the tails of your black trench coat pulled up over your head yelling, "Don't look at me! Spies! You're all spies!!" Maddness. Do you make lovers sign nda's before they get to see your rock-o-love?

      Assign a reasonable degree of care for personal information depending on it's sensitivity. Unless you are paranoid you will probably find that the vast bulk of your online activities should be freely observable if only in return for more appropriately targeted advertising, which btw is paying for this very forum!
      caburlingame
      • Keep laughing, while you can.

        @caburlingame

        There are hooks in most cellphone code for "silent call acceptance" that would allow a phone to do exactly what audidiablo has described. People just can't get it through their heads that the service providers have ultimate control over the handset, not the customer. There is a lot they <b> could </b> be doing, but aren't (yet).
        terry flores
  • Google, the one trick pony show, is desperately looking for

    a new revenue stream because Facebook, Ping and the other social sites are killing Google search.
    iPad-awan
  • RE: Could Google be the one to jump-start mobile payments?

    this technology has been in use in some parts of asia for yrs
    gundam_0083
  • good idea about android

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    gavin.chan
  • good idea about android

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    gavin.chan