Google Runs with Smartphone as Digital Wallet, Coupon Center

android-dollarsign Today at an event in New York, Google has unveiled two new products that will be built into smartphones sporting near-field communication technology: Google Wallet and Google Offers. The former presents a method for racking up purchases at a brick-and-mortar store and then using your smartphone as a financial transaction facilitator (like a credit card) and the second is a coupon system allowing a store to deliver deals to your phone as you shop.

Google Vice President of Commerce Stephanie Tilenius says the search giant is bringing “tomorrow’s best shopping experience” today.
Erica Ogg at CNet picked up the news from the event and delivers some details on what Google Wallet and Offers would entail in part,

The services will combine coupons and discounts and payments at the time people buy things through their phone.

Together the services will work like this: Coupons for items you buy regularly will pop up on your phone, or items at the store you’re shopping at is out of will pop up on the phone and let you buy that item online. When you go to the cashier, you can wave your phone over a terminal, which will charge your card. Meanwhile your loyalty points with that merchant will be added to your phone. Eventually receipts will be delivered to your phone.

Seems simple enough.

This doesn’t deviate much from what we at SiliconANGLE expected from the New York conference (reported on this week) but it does highlight Google’s strategy at approaching the adoption of NFC as a payment system for brick-and-mortar retail outlets. The part where the system will allow consumers to offload unavailable products for shipment seems like an excellent extension of the system; although this function will probably not be common during grocery shopping, it might have a place for media and electronics where the consumer give up a purchase without instant gratification.

Being able to offload to shipment instead of direct purchase might save a retailer some lost bucks when a customer cannot get what they want directly in their hands that moment.

While the Google Wallet will not go into wide scale promotion until deep into this summer, there will be trails in New York and San Francisco. Participating retail and restaurant outlets include Macy’s, Walgreens, Toys R Us, Bloomingdale’s, Guess, and Noah’s Bagels, and Subway. (Just don’t get mayonnaise on your Android.) The system will support several credit cards with the involvement of MasterCard and Citi, including a prepaid system funded from a credit card.

Google stresses that proving this technology will involve baby steps. The field testing in these two major cities and with this wide variety of outlets that cross multiple socioeconomic strata will provide a necessary proof of concept that will allow them to decide on their overall attack strategy for the market.
If you have an Android-based Nexus S, you’re in for a treat as the NXP NFC chip inside will allow you to take advantage of the Google Wallet and Offer service the moment it comes to the public. Of course, all future Android phones are expected to get NFC chips and both Windows phones and Nokia have marketing schemes prepared to join the race.