NFC – top of the Google rankings
It’s great news for NFC users that Google have realised that they cannot afford to ignore the benefits that NFC can give their customers. As part of the launch of their new Google Wallet app, an amazing 29 supported NFC devices will be able to benefit from all the features of Google Wallet, without losing any of the existing functionality and convenience provided by NFC. Peter Hazlehurst, product management director for Google Wallet, reinforced their commitment by confirming that the 29 NFC devices would soon increase, when he told NFC World, “We have more NFC-enabled devices in the pipeline as we continue to invest in NFC with our partners.”
Google Wallet gives users a growing number of benefits, although many of these are being rolled out across the US before coming to the UK and Europe. One typical example is the ability to send money to anybody with an e-mail address; restricted to the States at the moment, but globally a facility with huge potential. Mobile payment security is ensured by the ability to ‘switch off’ access to this via any device on the internet; so, if your phone gets pinched you can prevent your bank account being emptied.
Google Wallet also allows you to manage loyalty cards and promotional offers within the app; perhaps an end to the days of getting to the checkout only to find you’ve forgotten your coupons. The Google Wallet can collect offers from any of the Google apps, as well as a growing number of companies that want to use Google Wallet as another way or reaching their markets; many of these also plan to use the new facility that alerts users when they are close to a participating store, making sure you take advantage of an offer before it expires.
For companies committed to NFC, this Google initiative is yet another opportunity to drive business to your store and let people experience themselves the benefit of the NFC shopping and trading experience. Mobile wallets are surely yet another step towards a cashless society that NFC has proved itself to be an essential enabler of. Systems that still require direct scanning or pin number entry will miss out on the major efficiency of contactless payment.
At which point we really must offer our heart-felt condolences to purchasers of the latest iPhone5s. To have shown such loyalty to Apple and paid such a premium and to have been rewarded with a device that continues to lack NFC capability must have been a deep and brand-loyalty challenging wound. Don’t be too despondent though, we who know that NFC will continue to be a major part of the future, and we will continue our fight to stop Apple going the way of the dinosaur and to get on board the NFC revolution.
In the meantime, NFC gains millions of new users through Google’s far sighted commitment, by recognising that what the market really wants is choice, not restriction.