Google quietly launched its Google Wallet service on Monday, allowing Sprint customers with Samsung Nexus S smartphones and a Citibank MasterCard to buy products with a wave of their phones. (The service is expected to expand to other credit card companies and wireless providers relatively soon.) Google Wallet uses an Android app to store your financial information, and a near-field communication (NFC) chip in your phone that wirelessly communicates with PayPass terminals. "In the future, our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets," says Google's Osama Bedier. Will Google Wallet really replace your wallet?
Google Wallet has a long way to go: Right now, "Google's wallet is running a little light," says Mike Isaac at Wired. Unless you have a Citibank MasterCard, you have to fill up a Google virtual prepaid card, and the 140,000 stores with PayPass units are just "a drop in the global retail bucket." Still, when Wallet worked, I was entranced. Now, Google's big challenge is "convincing the entire world to catch up" with its "oddball, outlandish, far-fetched" vision.
"Cash advanced: Google Wallet is tomorrow's billfold"
I'd bet my money on the Wallet: "Google Wallet is clearly a close-up glimpse at what the seamless, slippery future of money looks like," says Matt Buchanan at Gizmodo. The awesome experience of paying for a New York cab with my phone convinced me that "Wallet will fix a lot of things, perhaps sooner than you'd expect." If anyone can convince retailers to put PayPass in every store, it's Google and the credit card giants. Then ditching your billfold will be a no-brainer.
"Google Wallet: The future of money is here, sorta"
I'll keep my leather wallet, thanks: Until Google Wallet can also store your government-issued ID, or a bit of spare cash for when technology fails, I think I'll hold on to my old-fashioned billfold, says Adam Dachis at Lifehacker. I like the idea of a digital wallet "in theory, and it certainly has its advantages, but relegating our identities and finances entirely to an app is also a scary prospect."
"Would you replace your wallet with your smartphone?"