We reported yesterday that there is a strong change of Google Wallet service going live today and it has happened! Google’s Wallet service is officially available according to a post on the official Google blog. The owners of Sprint’s Nexus S 4G and a Citi Mastercard will be able to process payments through Google with a tap of plastic on plastic. Its a limited audience but Google has asked us to be patient as it promises a quick expansion soon.
The near-field communications (NFC) technology makes Google Wallet possible. Once logged into the system users who have connected their Citi Mastercard to their Nexus S 4G phone will be able to pay for items by tapping their phone to a card reader at stores. Retail stores includes pharmacy chains like Rite Aid, CVS, and Duane Reade, with some representation in stores like New York and Company, Footlocker, Best Buy, and Home Depot.
With the Google wallet, Google can track your shopping habits closely. Google keeps a record of what you bought when you use your phone to buy items and this Google intends to tie into your ads and also send in coupons and ads. Google could offer even more seamless ad integration by connecting the offline retail outlets consumers favor with their Google profiles. Now privacy advocates are already over this concerned over privacy of shoppers and the items they buy. Surely you don’t want any one to know what you have been buying.
Google also notes that Google Wallet will remain an “open commerce ecosystem” and Visa, Discover, and American Express have sent their NFC specifications to Google for Wallet integration in future versions.