Your Cell Phone Just Got Even Cooler… Introducing Google Wallet

by Cheryl Tieken

Hold onto your seats ladies and gentlemen… Google has just announced a new feature… again. And this one’s a doozy. Well, for all of us Sci-Fi freaks, Trekkies and tech-nerds, we probably could have predicted this was coming someday.

So anyways, guess what? Next Christmas, forget about buying your significant other a sleek new leather wallet. Why? Cause Google is already on top of that.

Today, Google officially announced it’s newest innovation – Google Wallet. The idea is to be able to put tickets, credit cards, receipts, coupons – you name it – all on your mobile device. Even your driver’s license. Already available on the Google Nexus S 4G (Sprint), the whole wallet concept will function through an NFC technology.

So what does this mean? This means that soon you’ll be able to pay for a meal at a fast-food joint, like McDonald’s by waving your phone in front of an NFC-chip reader – very similar to Mastercard’s current PayPass system. In fact, Google’s system is already able to work with this system, which is currently in place in over 300,000 merchant locations.

The plan is to also have billboards with embedded coupons so all you’ll have to do is wave your phone in front of them to get the coupon. Pretty cool huh? Less paper wasted. As the daughter of a tree-hugger, I love that.

As far as credit cards go, you’ll just need to create a PIN which you’ll enter before you pay for anything. This will prevent people from being able to scan your phone and get all your info. Sounds safer than a wallet if you ask me. Can’t put a PIN on a credit card. And as someone who has been the victim of identity fraud, I more than appreciate this capability.

So far, Citi, Sprint and Mastercard are all talking about helping Google Wallet launch. Macy’s, Subway, Walgreens and Toys R Us have already said they will be the first to support the new technology. And Google has said it will not charge a transaction fee, but will instead make money via ads and via Google Offers – Google’s current stab at the whole Daily Deals epidemic. In fact, Google Offers is slated to tie in with Google Wallet – sending you an “offer of the day” which will be exclusive to Wallet users.

Google Wallet is scheduled for a trial this summer in New York, Portland and San Francisco with other cities to follow.

Well, we knew it was coming. Technology never ceases to amaze. And although I think it’s a cool idea and definitely love the paperless thing it does for the environment, I have to say this whole thing makes me a tad nervous. I can’t help but go back to images of computers-turned-human and monkeys jumping around giant monoliths (a la 2001 Space Odyssey). In the words of a friend of mine, “I guess it’s only a matter of time before we have chips like that inside ourselves.”

So what do you guys think? Google Wallet – cool new thing or something we should be wary of? Comment below!