At a press event today, Google announced two new services that seem aimed at capturing the sizzle of upstarts like Square and Groupon. Google Wallet is an NFC-based mobile payment system, backed by heavies like Citi, MasterCard, and Sprint. Google Offers is, as we’ve previously covered, a daily deals service which will start out in Portland, New York City, and San Francisco, to be followed by a nationwide rollout.
Google says that more than 300,000 retail locations will support Google Wallet at launch, which is scheduled to take place officially some time this summer, though “field testing” will begin in New York and San Francisco today.
Because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will do more than a regular wallet ever could. You’ll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk. When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you. Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.
The two services integrate, such that paying by Google Wallet allows users to automatically activate any relevant deals. Engadget: “To redeem offers you just have to tap your phone, no fumbling for e-mails.” It’s too bad Sprint is the only carrier supporting this at launch, but Google’s entry into mobile payments is a big deal, and will likely force a similar foray from Apple if it wasn’t already planning one.