The Google OS just got a whole lot smarter and wants to pay for goods at the till.
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The smart technology will be able to make payments and perform other transactions at the till including obtaining loyalty points and coupons using near field communications (NFC) according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Android software is to be unveiled formally in New York later this week and could mean future store transactions are fully paperless, although it may be some time before it becomes fully mainstream.
Google has already worked with Samsung on developing NFC for its Android Nexus S and was also said to be in recent talks with Citigroup and MasterCard who have been looking to offer their credit cards for the system.
Both Visa and MasterCard currently offer mobile payment ‘touch and go’ systems using NFC overseas and domestically, which allows an embedded chip in a device to communicate with other NFC chips that are close by via a tap-and-go procedure. The payment system is already widely used in Asian markets like Japan.
Other handsets currently featuring NFC are the Nokia C7 and Astound and the technology is now featured on most decent spec handsets emerging from phone makers.
Google’s rival Apple is also said to be working on similar smart payment technology using NFC for its iPhone 5 when it launches either later this year or early next year, so it will be interesting to see if Android pips iOS to the post first.
However, they’re not alone. US carriers T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have joined together to create a mobile payments system called Isis and and Microsoft are also said to be working on similar systems for Windows Phone 7 as are Amazon.
US retailers to participate in the Android pilot tests include Subway, Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters in several cities including New York and San Francisco.
From a Google perspective, the technology would greatly boost its digital advertising business, allowing Android to display ads for retailers, according to the WSJ, as well as collating consumer information which it could also flog to third parties.
And it could also jump on the couponing e-tail bandwagon which is on fire at the moment offering specials to consumers from players like Groupon and Deals which they could use while in-store and elsewhere.
Android may even begin its own such deals service – God knows they’ve got the consumer base.