The big news yesterday was Google Wallet launching to Sprint users with a smartphone that has NFC (Near Field Communications) built in. Basically, if you have a Sprint Nexus S 4G, you’ll see an update for “Wallet” come down the pipe on Sprint’s network asking you to install an application. This is the first version of the application, and it currently supports MasterCard CitiGroup and Google PrePaid Wallet cards. Google has also announced that it is working with Visa, American Express and Discover to bring their payment requirements to Google Wallet in the very near future.
Now that Google is ready to launch their version of an electronic wallet unto the world, the question still remains…is the world ready for mobile payments? Google obviously seems to think so, along with their launch partners and credit card vendors. This doesn’t mean that the human race is ready to divulge their personal private shopping habits and credit information to Google and its partners. Personalized marketing and shopping for your tastes will ahve a whole new level of invasion after data is collected on what exactly you are doing with your NFC enabled smartphone or device. Where you shop, what you bought and how often will be in as plain black and white font as possible for log parsing databases to all Google’s business partners in Google Wallet, and possibly beyond that.
Why launch now?
Google and Mastercard feel the time is now to start getting the general population a little more warmed up to the idea of mobile payments and personlized data collection in spending habits. Let’s be clear here, they see a need to do this now that will benefit them in many ways. That’s enough of a reason for any company to launch anything, even if it means a low early adoption rate.
Should you wait?
- You need a smartphone or device that has NFC built in, otherwise it simply won’t work. Once you have that though, should you jump on board? It’s going to take a long time for people to start feeling comfortable with the idea of loading their Google Wallet up with all their private financial data and numbers.
- After they warm up to it, or during as this may take years, shopping stores and shops need to start carrying the NFC enabled checkout devices for you to use your GWallet. That takes time.
- Smartphone manufacturers are going to have to jump on board as well, and start making more devices with NFC built in. Will Apple put NFC in the iPhone? Not now and maybe not for a while yet, as they identify that users aren’t asking for it.
- Lastly, It may become so intrusive that people dump the idea, because vendors abused the data they had and started making the public uncomfortable with the idea on how much data they have. We know how much data Google and facebook have on us, but they don’t throw it in our faces reminding us of it. Hopefully, the credit companies don’t take advantage of it in our daily personal squares of privacy.
It’s years away still, but Google has made the first real move towards it. Although there are currently 50 million NFC-enabled devices planned for launch over the next 18 months, that’s still just a drop in the mobile bucket for adoption and consumption. It’s a thin, fragile line that Google is walking to get us comfortable with it, but if they succeed, and consumers adopt, the stores will push faster to have NFC checkouts available, which will cut more jobs at the grocery stores for cashiers. We’ll be in an iRobot state of affairs soon enough.
For a comedic look at how Google Wallet could help you and your ever expanding wallet of plastic cards and paper receipts, watch the clip below.