Google Will Reveal Mobile Wallet Ambitions on Thursday (And Will Demo More at D9)
At an event on Thursday, Google will unveil a mobile wallet offering that will allow consumers to make payments with their mobile phones.
The company’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will also give the service a more thorough demo at the ninth D: All Things Digital conference in a week.
Yesterday, the Internet search giant invited AllThingsD and other press to join them at the event in New York, where it vaguely asked to come “join us at a Google partner event to experience our latest innovations.”
Well, it’s a digital wallet for mobile devices, centered around Google’s Android phones. The service has been developed within Google in a team led by Commerce VP Stephanie Tilenius.
In addition, Bloomberg is reporting that Google is partnering with Sprint Nextel.
The service will supposedly let consumers with certain Android devices pay for goods and redeem coupons with their handsets using near-field communication technology.
The first Google Android device to have NFC built in is the Nexus S, which Andy Rubin showed off at our D: Dive Into Mobile event in December.
Bloomberg also is reporting that Google is using hardware and software from other companies, including VeriFone Systems and ViVOtech.
In the past, Google has tried a number of payment offerings, none of which have been too successful. Google Checkout is used today by the Android Market to buy applications, but users have been slow to adopt it, forcing the search giant to ink direct billing relationships with carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
Google has also made a number of acquisitions in the space, including in-app payment provider Jambool.
But a mobile payments or wallets service would be a different beast that would compete more directly with internal initiatives by eBay’s PayPal, Amazon, or traditional credit card companies, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
And, just yesterday, San Francisco start-up Square unveiled a system that it thinks can replace the need for registers and wallets.
The difficulty of the mobile payments market is that it requires cooperation from so many parties, including the retailers, the handset manufacturers and the payment companies and banks.
Many companies, including Google, are trying to be the glue that brings them together, contributing to at least one part of that dynamic. So far, Google has not been a sticky solution in the online payments arena.
It’s unclear what Google would charge for the service on a per transaction basis, like other payment providers, or whether it would pursue some other business model, where it captures information about the user and provides more targeted advertising.
Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will be appearing at D9 as the opening speaker Tuesday night, where the topic of mobile payments will definitely be up for discussion.