Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Google Unveils Mobile Payment Wallet, Local Deal Offers

I’m sitting in the Starbucks outside Googleplex East in New York about to head inside for the announcement that Google will be starting a mobile payment service. While most of the details have already been reported by AllThingsD‘s Tricia Duryee and by The Wall Street Journal, I figured I’d come see the event in person so I could liveblog the proceedings, which should begin at noon eastern or 9 am Pacific.

12:00 pm: Stephanie Tilenius is on the stage, Google’s VP of Commerce. She says “we are just getting started.”

Google Wallet and Google Offers.

We are extending an offer to partners to join us in creating tomorrow’s best shopping experience. All commerce is ripe for a new wave of innovation.

A platform for third parties to create consumer experiences. Our aim is to bring together all pieces of the ecosystem. Your phone will be your wallet. Just tap, pay and save.

E-commerce is still only 8 percent of total retail, which means 92 percent happens offline.

With smart fields, geo targeting and Near Field Communication, we’re going to change the way commerce is done.

12:03 pm: Ed McGlaughlin from Mastercard is talking about Near Field Communications. He says it was a decade ago that Mastercard embedded a chip in a Nokia phone.

What we were able to prove through those trials was the basis of the communications technology that we worked through in 2003.

Smartphones have fundamentally changed how consumers interact with technology. Half of all phones will be smart phones. 60 percent of consumers 18-34 would be perfectly at ease using a phone to buy something in a store.

Stephanie Tilenius back.

She’s now running through an online demo involving a grocery list. There’s a notification on an apple pie for a deal with a dollar off in a grocery store.

I continue shopping, and when I check out, I tap to pay. All the loyalty rewards I get are credited on my account.

As a merchant, you could acquire new customers by offering discounts and incentives tied to different loyalty and spending levels, spending history and other factors.

Google Wallet is being field tested today for official launch over the summer.

What can Google Wallet do? It will support multiple cards. It will provision your existing Citi card. It will also work with a Google prepaid card you can fund from anywhere.

It’s a wallet you can lock. There are lots of security features, PINs, encryptions, and the card is never fully displayed on the screen.

San Francisco and New York first, and expanding in the coming months. Google is working with Macy’s, Subway and several other big brands.

First release supports payments and loyalty cards, all with a single tap.

And another new announcement: Google Offers. An offer of the day, a la Groupon and Living Social.

12:12 pm: In the future, you find an offer you want, you save it to your wallet, you click and pay. No more clipping and printing. This will go live in Portland, San Francisco and New York in the summer.

We have many more types of offers that include check-in offers. Places offers. Offer ads. We intend to work with our partners to include offers where possible.

Eventually you’ll be able to put everything in your Google Wallet. Osam Bedier, VP of Payments for Google, is going a demo.

Bedier: I’ve been innovating on payments for the last decade. We’re on the verge of a major shift in payments and commerce. Google is uniquely positioned to bring together the ecoystem necessary. It has to happen in an ecosystem way, no one company can do it all.

This is a real product. It’s a real product. Merchants are integrating as we speak.

He’s launching the Wallet application on a phone. The first thing you see is a tour. Agree to Terms and Conditions. A long scroll. Now attach your wallet to a Google account. It’s a layer of security from all the properties to the wallet. Then you give a PIN. You can’t do anything without a PIN. Now he’s linking a Citi card.

12:17 pm: Now he’s showing it on his personal phone. WIthin seconds an actual credit card is provisioned to the phone. “This will change how credit cards are issued in the future.”

Now its showing his card on the screen, displaying a limit and a partial number. Just like a real credit card.

Now he’s talking about the Google Prepaid card. Allows any user to tap and pay at any of 300,000 Paypass locations. You can add funds from any credit card.

Now there are two credit cards in the wallet at launch. It’s an open platform. The idea is to continue to partner and add cards to the wallet.

We’ve enabled multiple cards in a secure environment. We want to allow the consumer to use all the funding methods that they’d like in that wallet. This wallet can also be used without having to be opened.

I can lock the wallet. Security is very important to us. It was a fundamental consideration from day one.

Rob Von Baron is talking about the security. It looks like it’s based on a chip by NXP. We took the industry standard practices. We wanted to add extra on top of that to provide extra protection.

The chip is the same kind of smart card chip that issued for electronic passwords. It has a lot of protections built into it. This is where we’re storing the credit card information so no one can get it, no one can copy it.

Now Bedier is shopping for a pair of shorts from American Eagle. There’s an on-screen coupon. He’s clicking the save button. It’s now waiting for him on the phone. Lots of applause at that.

Now he’s looking for offers nearby for something to eat. Now he’s saving an offer from Subway. Click save, and it’s waiting for him on the phone.

Now he’s demonstrating checking out with the shorts.

12:29 pm: We call that single tap. Google’s Jonathan Wall, the other founding engineer of the Google Wallet project.

Wall says at launch Google will launch with the usual suspects of payment technology. But they will add more partners. Coming in the fall, it will introduce digital receipts back from the sale, which eliminates paper. Also the ability to dynamically create a loyalty card.

Wall: We’ll have game dynamics added to it. (Look out Foursquare?)

(The parenthetical was obviously my comment, not his.)

Bedier is back on stage, tapping a Macy’s poster with his phone wallet. He’s getting a coupon on the phone that he can use at the store.

Now a video. Mobile commerce vision.

There’s a sound, sort of a chime, that you hear when you pay with a Google Wallet, at least in this video.

Nice tagline: Goodbye wallet. The phone will take it from here.

Bedier is back. This is just the beginning. Everyone keeps saying that. It’s a pitch to retailers and payment players to joint in and help build it out.

Open systems drive competiton, consumer choice and add exponential growth. Focus on the user and everything else will follow. “We’re activating 400,000 phones a day.”

We plan to aggressively enable anything that a consumer would want to put in their wallet (What about my driver’s license?)

Citi Mastercard, First Data and Sprint are coming to the stage to make some remarks.

Citi is proud to be involved in the first wide deployment of NFC in the United States.

And Google just posted its official blog entry.

Ed McGlaughlin of Mastercard is now up. We see Mastercard at the heart of commerce.

MC processes billions of transactions in the blink of an eye. “The network sets us apart.”

Once consumers experience the speed and convenience of tapping, they never go back.

Now Ed Labry from First Data is up.

First Data being the biggest(?) merchant payment processor in the U.S. (Maybe the world?)

No one has ever heard of First Data unless you’re in the payment industry, but we process 40 billion transactions every year.

And here comes Sprint: Fared Adib, CTO of Sprint is on stage.

12:53 pm: Sprint is delighted to a founding carrier partner.

Stephanie Tilenius is back up. And we have another video.

Video shows who’s working with Google on this. Macy’s, Subway, American Eagle, Walgreens, The Container Store.

There are a few more logos on the screen, Foot Locker and Bloomingdale’s among them.

Tilenius is now wrapping things up with some closing summary remarks.

“We are really excited about what’s around the corner.” Now a Q&A session.

That’s it. I think I’m going to wrap up.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus