The rapidity of technological advancement in the past century spawned one of the greatest inventions in human history: the Internet. Never before has mankind been so interconnected in sharing thoughts, news and other knowledge. It’s also revolutionized the purchasing of goods and services by allowing people to communicate with their banks instantly as well as make purchases from a company across the world without leaving home. It’s far easier to review your financial records if they’re stored and sorted online with your financial institution than if you have to leaf through stacks of statements. One of the latest advancements in combining financial transactions and the Internet is the revolutionary Google Wallet, Google’s mobile payment system. The service combines payment options, customer rewards, store coupons and Google Offers into one unified application, setting the stage for future upgrades to the way we store our financial data.
Near Field Communication
NFC is a category of wireless communication that sends simple data between two devices that are normally no more than a few centimeters apart. Stemming from RFID chips, developed in 1983, it’s been in use in certain phones since 2004, though it hasn’t been widely adopted for mobile devices yet. NFC has many potential uses, mostly as replacements for various types of swiped cards. The technology can be used to synchronize devices, access additional information on a topic or even connect with people through social media sites. Replacing current payment systems, however, is the most exciting and the most likely to be put into prominent use in the near future.
NFC and Your Phone
As it stands right now, the only phone with Google’s NFC technology is the Nexus S 4G running Android on Sprint’s network. If you’ve got Sprint or are thinking of switching, it may be a tantalizing option. The phone has a four-inch, Super AMOLED screen with crisp colors and a solid viewing angle. The sound is solid and the phone sports a sleek, shiny exterior, a 5MP camera with flash and 16 GB of internal storage. Amid all the other stellar features, Google and Samsung managed to nestle an NFC chip in there which lay dormant until September 19 when Google officially launched their Wallet service. The search giant promised to release NFC stickers to owners of other Android devices, but there’s still no word yet on when those will be available.
Google Wallet Features
The Wallet service originally supported Citibank MasterCard accounts, a Google prepay account, Google Offers and gift cards for participating merchants. Cards are accessed through an app listing all of the available payment sources, though the app doesn’t have to be launched for the payment process to function. The entire system is locked with a PIN, meaning that anyone who wants to use your Google Wallet for a payment must unlock your phone and the payment app, making the system more secure-able than a physical credit card. In mid-October, Google released an update to the service, allowing users to store and redeem coupons, accumulate reward points and take advantage of Wallet-exclusive discounts.
About Thomas Stone
Thomas Stone is a contributing author at technected.com