Google

Headquarters: 
United States

Google, which makes more than 95% of its revenue from Web advertising, sees a major opportunity to use NFC to help it take advantage of its Web search dominance with physical merchants and advertisers.

With more than 90% of purchases conducted at the physical point of sale in the United States, Google plans to use smartphones, geo-location and NFC technology to stake its claim to what it calls a “new era of commerce” – bringing the online and offline worlds together.

The company unveiled its much-anticipated Google Wallet in late May 2011, planning to launch in New York, San Francisco and other U.S. cities in the summer. Users will be able to tap Google’s Nexus S 4G phones, and later other Android NFC handsets, to pay with a Citi-issued credit application and Google’s own prepaid application, both supporting MasterCard PayPass technology. Other banks and services providers are expected to join later in the initiative, which Google has worked on for many months.

Google would also enable users to “clip” coupons and other offers they find in searches on their phones and by tapping the phones on smart posters to add to the wallet. The offers would also be sent to their phone inboxes. Users could redeem the offers with a “SingleTap,” along with the payment.

To encourage major retail chains to accept contactless payment and couponing, Google is subsidizing terminals. It has already announced major new U.S. merchants to accept contactless stateside, including the Subway sandwich chain, Walgreen retail pharmacies and Macy’s department stores.

The customized couponing service is part of Google Offers, a competitor to deal-of-the-day startup Groupon and underpinning Google’s business case for NFC.

Google plans to make its money not with NFC payment–it won't even charge users to top up its prepaid card–but with targeted advertising and offers. The search giant hopes to cash in on the move to mobile for Web browsing and shopping by consumers, using NFC interactivity and other data it collects on shoppers’ location, buying habits and preferences.

It will control the secure chip in its Nexus S, which stores the payment applications and probably other applications. It remains to be seen whether it can control secure chips in other Android phones and would block other mobile wallets from being loaded onto the phones.

Google was to test the wallet in New York and San Francisco around the time of its late May 2011 announcement and the commercial launch would happen in these and other U.S. cities. It began trialing Google Offers in Portland, Ore, in early June 2011 and plans to expand Offers to New York and San Francisco in the summer.

Google has been talking to other banks in North America and also in Europe to put their payment applications in the wallet, as the Web giant makes its move to capture what former CEO Eric Schmidt has called a “mega-scale opportunity,” for mobile commerce with smartphones, cloud-based apps and NFC.

Key figures: 
Financial Results
  2010   2009  Change
Revenue  29,321  23,651  24%
Net Income 8,505 6,520  30.4%
In millions of US$

Employees 
24,400 (As of Dec. 31, 2010)

Key NFC Personnel: 
Peter Hazlehurst director of product management, wallet
Paul Reddick, head of business development, Google Wallet
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 

Visa, PayPal, Isis, Microsoft

Last Updated: 
Apr 2012
Author: 
Balaban

HEADLINE NEWS

Fitbit Unveils First Non-Smartwatch Supporting NFC Payments Service, but Progress of Device Rollout Slow

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– U.S.-based wearables maker Fitbit in October plans to release its first non-smartwatch supporting its payments service, Fitbit Pay, with the recent unveiling of its new health and fitness tracker Charge 3–but as with its Versa smartwatch, released in April, the NFC payments feature will only be available on a “special edition” version of the tracker in the U.S. and likely in some other markets.

Analysis: Three Years In, Samsung Pay Transaction Figures Are Still Nothing to Boast About

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – ­Three years after its launch in South Korea, consumer take-up of Samsung Pay remains lackluster, despite the company’s efforts to hype up its newly released figures.

Dominant NFC Chip Supplier Seeks to Move Up Value Chain by Providing More Services

NFC TIMES Exclusive – NXP Semiconductors, the dominant supplier of NFC chips and secure elements for smartphones and wearables, is seeking to push further up the value chain, offering such services as a white-label wallet platform and provisioning of bank and transit payments applications.

More Cities Plan to Launch Transit Ticketing in Google Pay Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Some major cities plan to enable their transit fare payments in the Google Pay wallet, using NXP’s Mifare 2GO provisioning service, NXP Semiconductors confirmed to NFC Times, adding that the implementations could put the fare-payments applications on secure elements.

Vancouver Transit Authority Plans to Run Open-Loop and Closed-Loop Fare Collection Side by Side

Aug 13 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Vancouver-area transit authority TransLink is seeing modest consumer take-up for its new open-loop contactless fare payments service and around 6% of the contactless EMV credit transactions are from NFC mobile wallets so far, NFC Times has learned.

Mastercard Backs Open-Loop Transit Payments in Taiwan’s No. 2 City

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city, plans to enable riders to enter subway gates by tapping contactless EMV credit cards and NFC wallets by the end of the year, working with Mastercard.

Traditional Watchmaker Fossil Adds NFC Payments, Heart Monitor to Smartwatch Line, as It Seeks to Reverse Earnings Slump

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Struggling U.S.-based watchmaker Fossil has introduced NFC for the first time, in its Q line of smartwatches, hoping the support for Google Pay and other smartwatch applications will help the mainly traditional watchmaker to stay competitive as more consumers turn away from traditional watches.

Analysis: Apple Touts Growth, as It Releases First Global Transaction Figure for Apple Pay; but Service Continues to Face Challenges

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple released the number of global transactions for its Apple Pay service–believed to be the first time it has done so–as the tech giant touted a tripling of transactions to more than 1 billion for the latest quarter. Apple also disclosed plans by two more large U.S. retailers to accept contactless payments and announced that another major country, Germany, would support Apple Pay, later this year.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Plans Digital Payments Service; Can It Convince Consumers to Part with Their Cash?

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –  SoftBank Group’s reported plans to launch a mobile digital payments service in Japan by year’s end–collaborating with Indian mobile payments provider Paytm–is an attempt by SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son to do what other large companies have tried and failed to do: wean Japanese consumers off of cash.

Garmin Unveils New Smartwatch Series Supporting Garmin Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based wearables maker Garmin has introduced a fourth smartwatch to its lineup of devices supporting its NFC-enabled payments service, Garmin Pay, the high-end D2 Delta watch series targeted at aviators or aviator wannabes.

Hong Kong Subway Operator and Majority Owner of Octopus Pursues QR Code-Based Transit Payments

NFC TIMES EXCLUSIVE Insight – Hong Kong’s MTR Corp., which runs the city’s subway system, next month will accept tenders from technology and payments providers for a QR code-based fare collection service that will serve as an alternative to its much-used contactless Octopus card.

Open-Loop Payments Connected with Campus ID Cards Not to be Included in Apple Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – NFC-based student ID cards provisioned to Apple Wallet beginning this fall won’t include the open-loop debit payments that are often part of plastic student ID cards, NFC Times has learned.