There was a time when today’s smartphone technology would have seemed like something out of a George Orwell novel, but Google’s Wallet technology for smartphones is indeed a reality. If Google has its way, consumers will no longer need to carry cheque books, credit cards or even cash. Simply grab your phone and go.
As reported by the Guardian in a recent article, this smartphone technology has been tested in key markets in the United States and there are now more than 230,000 terminals across that country which can accept payments via a smartphone.
The phone can be scanned at a grocery store so that the consumer never need stand in long lines when picking up a loaf of bread or a pint of milk. With Google Wallet, the phone can scan the barcode, make the payment and the shopper can literally be out the door in moments.
Even going to a busy restaurant will be made easier when it comes time to pay the bill. Once the customer has ordered and been served their food, the ticket will be sent to the phone and paid automatically with little or no interaction required by the diner.
At the moment Google has sleeper chips in the Nexus S Android smartphones that will be switched on in certain markets within the coming weeks. Amongst the first to go live will be Los Angeles, Washington DC and Chicago. The UK has a similar trial underway and Google has its sights on UK early 2012. From there it’s on to Europe.
What this means in terms of security is yet to be seen as the technology is still in the final phases of testing in the United States. Will hackers be able to send bills to your smart phones if they can crack your pin that is necessary to accept the transaction? It is still too early to tell, but the convenience afforded is delighting consumers who have been lucky enough to be in on the test run.