The long and short of it is that Google is looking to own the mobile purchase cycle from search to purchase. That’s a pretty powerful model to say the least and they are out of the gate running.
Google just announced its mobile payments system Google Wallet, which will also be bundled with its Groupon-killer Google Offers.
Google wants to put tickets, credit cards, receipts, coupons, and even your driver’s license in your Google Wallet.
A trial begins this summer in New York, Portland, and San Francisco this summer, with other cities to follow.
One wonders if the Groupon-killer comment is a bit much. However, since Google can now compete with Groupon (and possibly its Groupon Now product) by grabbing the attention of a consumer then letting them complete the deal with the NFC payment solution maybe something can happen to knock Groupon from its perch. Then again, Groupon is conquering the deal space through ‘sales scale’ which means they have a fleet of sales people selling their service while Google will likely go the self-service route and limit their reach.
But back to the wallet. To keep the excitement to a minimum the service will only be available initially on the Nexus S 4G from Sprint. So while it sounds cool it’s still a ways off from being ubiquitous.
That hasn’t stopped marketing partners from jumping on board.Oh and how does Google make money on this? Take one guess.
Citi, Sprint and MasterCard are all ganging up to help launch the Google Wallet. The band of companies will help get MOLO (Mobile Local Commerce) off the ground. Also, billboards will have embedded coupons so you can wave your phone in front of them to grab the coupon.
When you use a credit card via Google Wallet, Google will not charge a transaction fee. Instead, it hopes to make money via ads (surprise, surprise) and via Google Offers.
Google will be offering prepaid Google Mastercards which you can re-charge with funds from another card or bank account using an online interface. When you sign up for a Google Prepaid Card, they’ll deposit $10.00 free into your prepaid account, which is a nice gesture.
So if it sounds like I am not read to usher in the era of Molo just yet you are paying attention. Initial announcements in the tech world are press plays to try to grease the skids for a product down the line. No one seems to announce something that is widespread at the time of the announcement and that makes business sense. These things need time to work out the kinks and the fewer people that experience these kinks the better. That doesn’t make it any better for the rest of the mobile world that would like to play along but doesn’t have a Sprint Nexus S 4G phone.
Out of the gate it looks interesting for sure. When it really rolls out we’ll be sure to let you know.
What’s you take?