According to industry insiders, Google may launch a payment and advertising service that would let users purchase goods by tapping or waving their mobile phones against a cash register.
While Google declined to comment, technology expert Warren Holyfield says it could revolutionize shopping–and the industry. “With emerging technologies demanding center stage such as Google’s mobile payment service, the bar continues to raise in the ‘virtual landscape’. Stakeholders and future competitors will be required to rethink and reshape market approach through innovation,” he says.
It is believed Google may debut the service this year and that it will be based on near-field communication technology. This means the system can receive information wirelessly from four inches away. But Google is not the only company going this route. There are various other companies vying to make a mark in the NFC (near field communications) market, which according to IE Market Research, will account for a third of the $1.13 trillion in global mobile-payment transactions projected for 2014. In fact, Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA will start NFC-based services in 2012. Also, Visa plans to launch its own system in mid-2011.
NFC devices can receive and transmit data at the same time. Initially NFC, which is similar to Bluetooth technology, was intended mainly for use in mobile phones but is being used as debit cards and electronic keys, among other items.
So with the NFC market already getting crowed with competitors, why is Google venturing into the industry? “Market share,” says Holyfield, CEO of computer support services company A-Advantage Networking, Inc. “Google’s forward-moving approach in recognizing the importance of virtual landscaping is, in effect, establishing its own market share in the digital real estate game,” he says.