Google Wallet & Google Offers Announced: Virtual Wallet in Your Smartphone

Google today announced two new services: Google Wallet and Google Offers. Both these services will change the way consumers make purchases today.

Google Wallet will be available publicly this summer. Google Wallet will be basically a free Android app. The app will make your phone your virtual wallet. It will store your existing credit card information as virtual card on your phone.

All you have to do is simply tap your phone to pay and redeem offers using near field communication, or NFC. NFC is a wireless technology for data transmission between two devices when brought within a few inches of each other. A digital receipt will be sent to the smartphone to confirm the payment.

Google Wallet

When Wallet launches, a number of partners will support it. Partners who will support Wallet includes Subway, Macy’s, Walgreens and Toys R’ Us. You can find where Wallet will work by visiting this website. You’ll be able to use Citi MasterCard cards and the Google Prepaid Card with Google Wallet.

Google Prepaid Card is basically a virtual card. You can fund this virtual prepaid card with any of your existing plastic credit cards. Google Wallet with “tap and pay” will be initially compatible with Nexus S 4G available on Sprint. It will be later made available to more Android devices and platforms.

Google Offers essentially deals on products and services at local or online businesses. Google Offers is a location-based promotion service. It will give an “offer of the day” and will also tell about more discounts based on your place and preferences set. It might seem like Groupon, but Google Offers is very closely tied with Google Wallet. Whenever you buy or save a Google Offer, it automatically syncs to your Google Wallet so your offers are always with you. You can than easily redeem the discounts via the “tap and pay” feature.

Offers will be launching this summer in Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and New York, with other cities to follow. Google is also testing other types of offers in different Google products, including Google Search, Maps, Latitude, and Shopper.

Google Offers

Google emphasized that they are developing Google Wallet to build an “open commerce ecosystem.”

Google Wallet will be “open” in these ways:

  • Google Wallet will support many payment instruments, with the goal being to create virtual versions of all the plastic cards that exist today.
  • Google Wallet will establish APIs that issuing banks can develop for that will make integrating payment instruments into Google Wallet a reasonably straightforward process.
  • Google Wallet will establish APIs to enable transfer of offers, loyalty programs, receipts, and more at the point of sale.
  • Google Wallet can be installed on Nexus S 4G available on Sprint, and potentially over time, other mobile devices and platforms as well.

— Google Wallet FAQ

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