The Google Wallet Is Open for Business

As expected, Google has launched its mobile payments service today, allowing a very few people to tap their phones to pay at the register.

As part of the announcement, Google declared that it will also be working with Visa, American Express and Discover in addition to its original partners MasterCard and Citi to bring the technology to more consumers.

The Google Wallet will be pushed to owners of the Sprint Nexus S 4G in an over-the-air software update, according to a Google blog post.

The announcement has been expected since May, when Google unveiled its plans for an official launch this summer.

Still, the rollout is more symbolic today than anything since the impact to consumers will be small until near field communication is adopted more widely by merchants, carriers and wireless handset makers.

The addition of Visa, American Express and Discover into the offering will help some of the adoption concerns as more cards can be added to the Wallet in the future versions.

Users will be able to tap and pay at roughly 150,000 terminals in the U.S that are enabled by MasterCard’s PayPass technology. And, with the addition of Visa, Google also will have access to Visa’s payWave NFC-enabled terminals totaling “hundreds of thousands of retail locations worldwide,” according to a statement by Visa.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work