Near Field Communication or NFC is on its way. This morning Google announced Google Wallet. Yes annoyingly it is another addition to the list of US-only Google services right now, but its an important development that will impact the future of retail sales.
Google Wallet aims to replace your wallet entirely, holding offers, loyalty cards, credit cards, and in the future will support transit cards, boarding passes and more. Right now there’s a single phone, the Nexus S 4G on a single provider, Sprint, but expect Google to roll this out to more locations and devices quickly.
International availability may be some time away, however when you look at the systems it supports, we may be leaving that wallet at home sooner than you think. PayPass is technology that’s being deployed at Point of Sale across Australia right now. While PayPass is currently card-based, Google Wallet and transactions via your phone, should be compatible.
Simply touch the device (or hold very close) to the reader and the transaction takes place. There are security measures in place to prevent inadvertent transactions, like entering a pin after a specified duration.
Also expect competition in this space. Google may be first to make this commercially available, but expect other providers to follow suit. Microsoft have already announced that WP7 Mango devices can include NFC chips, so a Microsoft or even Apple Wallet may not be far off.
Personally I can’t wait till I can leave the big bulky, coin-filled wallet at home. The only question is, where is that condom going to live ?
More information on Google Wallet at http://google.com/wallet