Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Google Wallet

Google Wallet is a new app released by Google obviously that is currently only available on the Samsung Nexus phone (carried by sprint).The app is capable of doing what it implies, which is replacing your wallet with a digital app located on you cell phone. The technology that allows the Nexus to do this is called the N.F.C (near field communication) chip. It is very similar to other tap and go or speed pass devices that we have seen in the past. When you use the app at checkout you can tap the phone to the pay pad (at select stores) and the transaction will be made through the phone as if it was your credit card. It also eliminates paper recites. You get a digital copy sent straight to the app after your purchase. Another really cool feature of this program is its promotion and coupon section. Retailers are able to offer special sales available only to the people using this app, which in the early stages of development can be used to help lure people into making the digital switch. You can also store coupons from the Internet on your phone so you don’t have to worry about remembering to bring them to the store. They can be scanned directly off of your phone.

Currently the app supports very few credit cards. The Citi bank master card is one as well as the Google prepaid card. The Google card is essentially just a debit card you load from your bank account and it is used through Google Wallet. You can also sync your gift cards to Google Wallet as well. Again the stores that utilize this are still limited, but it would be nice to do away with all of the plastic that consumes our wallets, purses, and pockets. This would also prevent the dreaded demagnetization of gift cards.

This app is still in its very early stages of development. Google is currently just testing people’s reactions to it and working out all of the doubt with things such as security. This is one of the main things that frightened me about this program. If someone lost their phone and another person just happened to look through it, they would instantly have access to all of your banking information and credit cards. Obviously this would be just horrific. But Google argues that the app is already safer then any wallet because you can set your phone to have a password to get into it, a password to get into the app, and a password has to be entered during payment. Although this is a good point, I don’t know if even the most encrypted passwords can stop the well trained computer hackers of the world today.

One of the other things Google wallet is hoping to eventually do is take all of the things from your wallet and put them into this app. This includes things like; drivers license, passport, boarding passes, and library cards. Everything would be at your fingertips and you could leave home with nothing but your phone in hand. This again brings up the threats of security with this much information all in one place, but I am going to try and look past that for now and focus on the huge amount of possibilities this app brings to our world.

Currently this app is only available on one phone since the Nexus is the only phone equipped with the NFC chip. Google says it is currently developing a sticker that people will be able to attach to their current phones that will give their device NFC capabilities. I believe that this technology is not far away form becoming used very commonly. We already are using our phones for more and more tasks everyday. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even know why we call them phones. They are more just mobile devices, the phone feature is often the one we use the least. I think that the Google wallet is a great idea and it will definitely change the way we handle money. Although there are still many kinks in its system, I’m sure Google will be able to make it a simple experience for everyone to use. In the future I think that we will eventually do away with all paper money and it will switch over to electronic payments. I also feel that with apps such as Google wallet we will eventually only need one device in our lives instead of having a computer, TV, tablet, phone, and video game consoles, we will have one superior device. And the crazy part is, I don’t feel like it is all that far away from where we are now.

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