Google Wants To Be In Your Wallet

28 03 2011

It is a foregone conclusion that Google is wiggled its way inside our brains. Now it want to bury itself in our wallets. Coming soon to an Android nexus S phone near you, the new Google-Visa-MasterCard app will let you go completely cash- and plastic-less.

And if this sounds a little bit like something I stressed the need for last week, well go ahead and congratulate me on my prescience. I suppose it was inevitable, though, so it was kind of like me saying it’s going to be hot and sunny this summer in Texas.

Still, I am thrilled to see the US making such rapid progress in mobile payments. We are truly far behind much of the developed world in this area, and we need to catch up.

Now what, you are wondering, is Google doing in the money and banking business? Are they itching to open a bank or something?

No, of course not. They really couldn’t care less about credit card processing, payment gateways, etc. No, what they want to be able to track is every nickel you spend. You know, just like they know your entire search history.

Now just imagine the push notifications that will occur on your cell phone. Just bought some Pampers? Be prepared for an onslaught of kid-focused product messages. Or did you buy Depends? Still diapers, but now you’ll be getting ads for AARP.

Yeah, scary, isn’t it? Google already sells bazillions of dollars in targeted advertising every year, and now it hopes to fill the cash drawer a few times over. While search may represent interest and potential purchase, and thus worthy of Google’s attention, the act of making the transaction is priceless. Now it’s a done deal.

Think about it. If search symbolizes interest and possible intent, actual purchase is the pot of gold at rainbow’s end. It is the terminus of the consumer behavior train. It is that information that Google covets from each and every one of us.

Unfortunately, this new venture is limited to only the forthcoming Nexus S phone (Android, of course). But I suspect the floodgates have been opened, and soon there will be apps for every smartphone available, and soon we will be paying by phone. And here’s a new acronym for you to memorize: NFC (near Field Communications). It’s what enables a phone app to pay the bill as it passes within proximity of a scanner.

There are also rumors afoot that PayPal is working up their own payment app, one that can be used to “bump” another phone to exchange currency. Imagine being out for dinner with friends, and having to split the bill. A quick bump and everyone can settle up.

The days are numbered for my George Costanza-like billfold. No longer will I sit at an angle. No more will my lower back hurt. Go ahead and analyze me, Google. I’ve got nothing to hide. Besides, Visa and MC already know what I buy. You’re just wanting in on the action. Have at it.

Dr “End Of The Paper Trail” Gerlich


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