Google is creating a mobile payment service that could let users buy goods as easily as waving an Android phone at checkout, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. The service, based on near-field communication technology, could come out as early as this year.
The smartphone mobile payment technology is based on near-field communications, or NFCs, which can send and receive information wirelessly from about 4 inches away. By 2014, global mobile payments are projected to reach $1.13 trillion, according to IE Market research, so it's no surprise Google wants to join the chase after the cash. Other companies like PayPal, T-Mobile, Verizon Wirelss and Visa are also getting into the mobile payment business.
Google has been carefully working on the plan by buying mobile payment company Zetawire in August. The Canadian company owned a patent that allows a cell or smartphone to work as a "virtual wallet" to buy goods and services. Google's new Android platform, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread,) also features NFC technology which would make reading NFC tags at cash registers and stores easy. Google has started a test market, called Hotpot, in Portland, Ore. to beta-test and monitor the technology.
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"We are going to start expanding into more and more cities in the near future," said Lior Ron, group product manager for Hotpot. "We want to make it national."