Google is giving mobile NFC a nudge forward through beta testing with users of its Facebook counterpart, Google+.The few people who have an NFC-enabled smartphone, are running Android 2.3.4 and are part of the initial Google+ ‘field test’ will be able to scan NFC tags and send their information to other Google+ users in their ‘circle.’
While most of NFC’s (near field communications) publicity of late has come from the idea of using phones as touch-and-go payment systems like Visa and MasterCard offerings, Google’s take has integrated NFC into its social networking tool. The search company gave a demo of its payment system, Google Wallet, two weeks ago.
There aren’t many real-world applications for it yet, but integration especially into Google+ could see it as a near-future additive to the social networking experience. Truer still if the impending iPhone 5 is released with an NFC chip.
In a separate announcement, Google has introduced the beta of a public transport version of its GPS navigation software, dubbed Transit navigation.
Google’s blog tips the software as a handy alternative to translated maps for international travel, with vibrating alerts on approach to bus and train stops and an upcoming improved directions service.
The service that mimics similar GPS services like cityXplorer from Garmin is currently running across more than 400 global cities, but Australia’s Perth, Sydney and Adelaide have so far received limited services.
While Adelaide’s Metro is serviced, Sydney only receives stop-by-stop navigation for its Monorail and Light Rail.