If Google has its way, pants and purses will soon be a little lighter. Its new “Wallet” mobile app will allow consumers to store credit/bank cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, and events tickets for on-the-go use.
What’s more, email accounts might enjoy a lessened load. Eventually, purchases from Groupon, LivingSocial, and other email-driven deals platforms will be stored and redeemed at merchant locations via Google Wallet, according to Nate Tyler, spokesperson for the Mountain View, CA-based company. That may surprise some considering part of today’s Wallet announcement entailed the official launch of Google Offers, the firm’s answer to Groupon and LivingSocial.
When asked about the flexibility of storing deals via Google Wallet, Tyler told ClickZ, “We haven’t officially announced that, but that is essentially our plan.”
Google has begun field-testing Google Wallet with consumers in New York and San Francisco. Tyler said the test audience “will be in the thousands in the next month or so.”
A nationwide release is expected this summer, the company disclosed today at a press junket in New York. Google has partnered with Citi, MasterCard, and First Data to enable merchant payment procurement during the Wallet tests. Users will be able to enter MasterCard credit cards from Citi or use a “Google Prepaid Card,” which accepts payments from other bank/credit cards in a system akin to PayPal. The app will first be available with Android Nexus phones on the Sprint network.
Google Wallet users will simply have to tap their phone app to redeem offers/deals from local shops and retail chains. The days of consumers printing out Groupon and LivingSocial vouchers may be numbered. Meanwhile, Macy’s, Subway, Walgreens, and Toys R Us are retail launch partners and will soon test Google Offers in Portland, OR, New York, and San Francisco.
How prepared was Google before unveiling Google Wallet/Google Offers today? A search on Google.com for “NFC” – an abbreviation for near-field communication, a relatively arcane term for the technology supporting the Wallet initiative – results with the term’s Wikipedia page as the top organic link, ahead of the wildly popular NFL’s National Football Conference. And a paid ad for Google Wallet by MasterCard appears to the right.
Start your engines, indeed.