Japan: Google Launching Places Test in Tokyo with Japanese Wallet Phones

 

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Countinue Reading

 

TokyoJapan
Scope: 
Trial
Launch: 
Jun 2011
Main Application: 
Service discovery (tag reading)
Mobile Operator: 
N/A
Service Provider (application): 
Google (Google Places)
Merchants: 
Limited number
Users: 
N/A
NFC Handsets: 
N/A
TSM*: 
N/A

Users will be able to tap their Japanese contactless-mobile wallet phones on readers installed at a small number of merchant locations in the Roppongi district of Tokyo to get information on the businesses and rate and review the establishments.

The Google readers are not actually designed to work with standard NFC phones, but with Japan’s base of 60 million to 70 million phones containing FeliCa chips from Sony Corp. The phones largely support only card-emulation mode, so they cannot read NFC tags, though Sony said it has added reader functions to later versions of its FeliCa phone chips.

It's unclear how users then get information about the businesses, but the tap probably helps to open the Google Places Web page for a particular business on their phones.

Google has launched the Places service in at least five U.S. cities, including Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, enabling people with its Nexus S NFC phones, and later other models, to tap tags embedded in stickers on merchant storefronts to download information and rate and review the businesses.

NFC Times Take: 

NFC-enabled Google Places is the first service for Google in its attempt to use NFC to bridge the online and offline worlds and is a prelude to launch of the Web giant’s NFC-based mobile commerce services tied to its Google Wallet.

Google sees a potential market for NFC in Japan, with Japanese operators already putting non-standard FeliCa chips from Sony Corp. into Android phones from Japanese handset makers. It's part of the mass deployment of FeliCa-based contactless wallet phones rolled out since 2004. Japan’s dominant telco, NTT DoCoMo, leader of the drive to roll out wallet phones, which the telco calls Osaifu-Keitai, plans to begin the move to standard NFC in late 2012.

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