Google Wallet: First Look at Near Field Communications

Sep 22, 2011

Near-field communication is the future of mobile connection.

This week, Google released the first version of its new app, Google Wallet. Google Wallet is a Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile wallet app that can be used to make payments with a single tap, replace loyalty cards, and as a coupon delivery, management and redemption tool. Planned updates to the platform will allow users to store tickets, transit passes, and other items usually found in a conventional wallet.
Google Wallet is currently available only to customers of one US mobile network who have a particular phone model — the Nexus S 4G. Google Wallet enables you to pay with a Citi MasterCard credit card or a Google Prepaid Card, which can be funded with any existing plastic credit card. The company plans to bring Google Wallet to more phones in the future.
Q: Isn’t this just another app?
A: NFC is the killer app.
NFC is a gamechanger. NFC technology promises to provide the convenience of a single, contactless credential for each of us by enabling a highly secure personal identifier to be built into our mobile phones. NFC-enabled phones such as the Google Nexus S or a Nokia C7 incorporate all the functions of a secure contactless smart card, comparable in its level of security and sophistication to highly secure electronic credentials such as electronic passports, credit cards, or electronic tickets. What makes NFC phones really powerful is the convenience of enabling them anywhere, anytime through secure mobile connections, to act as our personal credential any number of possible mobile applications.
NFC-enabled smart phones can be used to log on to different websites, networks or loyalty programs, eliminating the need to remember all those multiple passwords. Tickets can be downloaded to our phone. NFC phones can also be used as a reader or scanner to download data such as coupons, reviews, and the like, via smart tags or smart posters.
Convenience, security, simplicity, and fun will determine what kind of world we shape with our NFC phones, a future world of integrated multi-application, multi-use credential and a secure multi-use, multi-application reader in the palm of our hands.
Most mobile phone manufacturers have announced plans to include NFC functionality in the next generation of their mobile phones, with 280 million people estimated to be carrying NFC-enabled phones by 2013. Credentials such as keys, access cards, tickets, business cards, plastic loyalty cards and payment cards could rapidly disappear in favor of a single personal credential on your phone.

NFC represents a paradigm shift, making everyday activities easier and more convenient by building on existing systems and human behavior. It will make accessing new media and content services more intuitive; make it easier to pay for things; easier to discover, synchronize and share information; and easier to use transport and other public services.

According to a recent study, one third of iPhone users indicated that they were "likely" or "very likely" to use mobile payments. Analysis from Juniper Research states that NFC mobile payments market will exceed $75 billion globally by 2013, when 20% of all phones shipped will possess NFC capability.

Once NFC chips are integrated into phones, a host of new applications can be built that:

·                help people access public transport, office buildings, or their cars

·                download music, videos, and discount coupons from smart posters

·                act as an identity card to make purchases or exchange business cards

·                help facilitate the pairing of Bluetooth devices

Notes about security
NFC operates only at very close ranges (1 to 4 cm), which makes it difficult to hack the data being transferred using NFC signals. NFC-enabled phones don't require activation of GPS or global positioning, or even a cellular connection; and they require a deliberate use by the consumer to read or be read. NFC offers user-based control over which application(s) to read from or write to, and where or to whom the user wishes to make his or her presence known.


Tags: NFC, Google. SingleTap, Smart Phone

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