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Google today announced two new services that seek to change the way consumers make purchases: Google Wallet and Google Offers. Wallet, which begins field tests today and should be available publicly this summer, gives Android phones the ability to store your credit card information (although support has so far been confirmed only for the Sprint Nexus S 4G). Once enabled, the service can be used to pay at participating retail stores using a “tap-to-pay” feature. A digital receipt will be sent to the phone to confirm payment.

A number of partners, including Subway, Macy’s, Walgreens and Toys R’ Us, will support Wallet at launch. Support for Citibank Mastercards will be included at launch, but users can also pay with a Google Prepaid Card, which itself can be loaded from any credit or debit card. Google emphasized that it is promoting Wallet as an open platform, which should make it easy for new partners to come on board.

Google Offers is essentially a location-based 5 Best Location-Based Alternatives to Foursquare 5 Best Location-Based Alternatives to Foursquare Read More promotion service that will provide users with an “offer of the day” and additional discounts based on user location and preferences. This is similar what is already provided by companies like Groupon, but Offers is of course tied in with Wallet, which means discounts can be redeemed via the “tap-to-pay” feature without showing a coupon. Offers will be launching this summer in Portland, San Francisco and New York, with other cities to follow.

Obviously, security is a concern whenever credit card information is being stored on a smartphone or transmitted via wireless. The Sprint Nexus S 4G shown at the press conference contained a security chip built to encrypt and protect data, such as credit card information. In addition to this, the app will require users to input a PIN before use.

However, in a hilarious security lapse during the press conference, one of the presenters had his full Citibank Mastercard number shown on camera. Not exactly comforting, is it?

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Source: Google Wallet and Google Offers Press Conference Livestream

  1. Jerry Henderson
    May 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Good luck with that one! I'd rather slide down a 50-ft razor blade into a pool of alcohol than put my credit card info into my phone.

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