Google is not fighting the trend toward mobile devices and social media. In fact, they have embraced it every step of the way. And well they should since their entire business plan revolves around people doing more and more things electronically. This week they announced a new plan to allow people to pay for things they buy in the brick and mortar world with nothing but their smartphone. This new “Mobile Wallet” feature is only the first step that will likely become a long march toward complete digital payment features. Right now the service is limited to MasterCard users in the San Francisco area, but it will likely expand to include other areas if the service proves more popular.
This is just one more way social media will change the way we live our lives. Not that this is directly a case of social media in action. Rather, by embracing social media, and becoming more comfortable with it, people we be that much more likely yo embrace a new technology that holds promise for making their lives easier.
The wallet has some features that haven’t been in previous attempts to offer mobile wallets. For instance, the wallet can include multiple cards. In addition to the Citi card, Google is including a prepaid Google payment card that users can fill up from any credit card.
In addition, the wallet can include loyalty cards. When users pay for an item at the point of sale, with one tap they can transfer multiple cards, including their credit card and the loyalty card.
“The idea is to continue to partner and add cards to the wallet so hopefully I’ll be putting all my cards in there,” said Osama Bedier, vice president of payments at Google. The executives unveiled the new service at an event in New York that was webcast.
Google expects to officially release the product this summer in the U.S. Google officials also said that some 300,000 international retailers have the capability to support the mobile wallet, but they did not elaborate on plans outside of the U.S.
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