Nov. 16, 2010 at 1:51 PM ET
Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that Gingerbread, the newest version of Google's mobile operating system Android, will support near-field communication technology to allow for mobile payments.
In other words, if Google has their way with making credit cards out of Android smart phones, we all may have to embed chips in ourselves to keep constant track of those devices!
So, whoosh, out would go plastic, in would go digital and tap-and-pay using your Android-powered phone without having to take pictures or input anything. It's something that Schmidt said credit card companies should embrace because it's more secure. (Debit and credit cards already do this at many stores and gas stations.)
If they could figure out a way to put our driving license and insurance in digital form on our phones, I don't think I'd ever carry a wallet.
You can hear directly from Schmidt in this almost 45-minute clip from his appearance yesterday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. It's a long segment, but the good stuff is early on. We're particularly amused by Schmidt's "We don't make devices." To which the moderator retorts, "a new operating system aligned with a potential hardware device." Of course, they're both referring to the next Nexus phone, which Schmidt pulled out as "an unannounced device I carry around with me" that has tape covering its name. (High tech clever, there.)
But the iPhone is right there with them on the NFC front, as information about the iPhone as iWallet has been around for awhile now. The Computerworld blog Apple Holic thinks that Apple has an edge, marrying the iPhone platform to the already successful iTunes retail experience. "Using iTunes as a payment system," writes Jonny Evans, "iPhone users could conceivably pay for items with payments charged to them via iTunes. iTunes already has 160 million or more registered users."
This New York Times blog delves a little more into the e-commerce implications of Schmidt's announcement, and how it's ramping up its own products toward getting the consumer to spend through them. Technolog has also written about that lately, especially in regard to Google popping into the high fashion space.
Wired's Ryan Singel gave us an almost creepy vision of the future through Schmidt's eyes:
Schmidt imagines a future where mobile users who opt-in to getting notices and suggestions will have local merchants sending targeted deals their way. Companies with smart algorithms and knowledge of your likes and dislikes (say Google) can send you suggestions — such as where you might like to go for a coffee, or even remind you that you needed dental floss and there’s a drug store around the corner having a sale on it.
There's a scene in "Minority Report" where advertising holograms pop-up for characters as they walk. This sounds an awful lot like the precursor to that. What do you think?