Google has its eyes on a mobile payment service that would allow users to pay for common goods and services by waving or tapping their mobile phones. That’s according to a BusinessWeek report that cites “two people familiar with the plans.”
BusinessWeek’s sources say the payment service could debut this year. It would be based on near-field communication (NFC) technology. Back in August, Google purchased Zetawire, a Canadian startup with a patent covering a variety of mobile commerce functions, from banking to credit card transaction processing. Bill Slawski wrote about that patent a couple weeks ago.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke about — and briefly displayed — how NFC works on the Gingerbread OS when he appeared at the Web 2.0 Summit in November. (See the 2:00 mark on this YouTube video.) “One way to think of it is that this could replace your credit card. The term in the industry is called ‘tap-and-play’,” Schmidt said.
The BusinessWeek report expands that with a few more details:
A single NFC chip on a mobile phone would hold a consumer’s financial account information, gift cards, store loyalty cards, and coupon subscriptions, say the people familiar with Google’s plans. Users may also be able to make online purchases from their phones. By scanning a movie poster, for instance, a consumer might read reviews and use the Google service to purchase tickets.
Google declined to comment to BusinessWeek. But the company’s interest in NFC is certain: When it began promoting its Hotpot effort in Portland last month, it gave free marketing kits to local businesses, each with an NFC-powered window sticker.
(image courtesy pittaya via Creative Commons)