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

Samsung Pay Launches in UK Without Major Banks or MST Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung today finally launched its Samsung Pay mobile payments service in the UK, well behind rival payments services Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Wal-Mart Still Balks at Accepting NFC; Nordstrom Wants Right to Refuse Some NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive – LAS VEGAS, Nev.: It’s been more than two and a half years since Apple Pay launched in the U.S., and retail giant Wal-Mart Stores still is no closer to accepting NFC at its 4,000-plus stores in the U.S. then when Apple began rolling out its NFC-enabled mobile payments service in October of 2014.

Apple Testing Loyalty Feature; Google Expected to Expand Payments for Home Device

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As they struggle with low user adoption of their respective wallets in the U.S., Apple and Google are seeking to add more features, hoping to increase transactions, NFC Times has learned.

Taiwan Chief Banking Regulator Reveals Apple Pay Card Adds; Samsung Launches Early Access in Country

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The chairman of Taiwan’s banking regulator, the Financial Supervisory Commission, Wednesday revealed just how fast a start Apple Pay got on the island nation, following its launch of the mobile payments service there in late March.

Analysis: Cook Touts Apple Pay's 'Phenomenal Traction,' but Figures–or Lack of Them–Tell Another Tale

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple CEO Tim Cook, with typical enthusiasm, touted Apple Pay’s “phenomenal traction” yesterday in a conference call with analysts. But with one exception, he again failed to release any actual transaction figures for the mobile payments service, while also apparently overstating the contactless and NFC acceptance footprint in the U.S.

Analysis: Enabling HCE Payments in Stand-Alone Wallet Vs. Mobile-Banking App? A Look at Ukraine

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Banks planning to launch host card emulation-based mobile payments have a decision to make: Should they incorporate the payments feature in their mobile-banking apps or introduce a separate wallet app.

Samsung ‘Officially’ Launches First Pays Service in Nordics and Middle East; Expands Beta to Two More Countries

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung today said it had “officially” launched its mobile payments service, Samsung Pay, in Sweden and the United Arab Emirates after “early-access launches” in these countries, making it the first of the global “Pays” wallets to fully launch in either the Nordics or the Middle East.

‘Pays’ Not Enough: Two Singaporean Banks to Expand P2P Apps to In-Store Payments Using QR Codes

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Two of Singapore's major banks–both of which are participating in all three of the “Pays” wallets–Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay–are expanding their peer-to-peer payments services to in-store payments using QR codes.

More German Banks to Commercially Launch HCE-Enabled Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – At least two German banks plan to follow the country's largest bank by assets, Deutsche Bank, in offering host card emulation-based mobile payments to their customers, NFC Times has learned.

PayPal Will Use Discover Acceptance Infrastructure and Tokenization for In-Store Payments with Android Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive – PayPal will use the Discover Financial Services acceptance infrastructure and tokenization for its move to in-store payments with Android Pay, NFC Times has confirmed.

Samsung Pay Nears Launch in Taiwan; Android Pay Expected to Follow

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Samsung Pay is expected to launch next month in Taiwan, followed by Android Pay, as the two global “Pays” wallets gear up to compete with Apple Pay on the island nation, NFC Times has learned.

Analysis: Following Delays, PayPal ‘Soon’ to Launch Next Attempt at In-Store Payments using Host Card Emulation

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – PayPal and Google announced a deal that promises to finally bring HCE payments to U.S. PayPal account holders, after delays–enabling users to pay with PayPal through Android Pay.