Yesterday Google revealed a new product that entices users through convenience: Google Wallet.
Wallet combines the phone and the credit card–two necessities that few, if any, leave the house without–into one tidy package.
The idea is to link credit cards virtually to phones, so that the phone becomes the only thing you need to grab before heading out of the house. To make purchases, the user simply taps the phone against a machine to pay. Google’s goal is not to eradicate credit cards but to eliminate their physical presence, making it more convenient for the user who has one less item to carry around. (It is more eco-friendly, too!) There is no transaction fee for now, so what does Google get out of this? Insight into consumer behavior and choices that can be used to inform other products like Google Offers. Offers suggests relevant deals, coupons, and vouchers to users à la Groupon, the behemoth daily-deals site that Google failed to acquire last year.
To encourage greater participation and usage, Google stresses that Wallet is an open platform. A wise move considering Wallet is currently limited to one bank, one type of credit card, one mobile service provider, and one phone at launch this summer. If you do not meet all those requirements, you are stuck with carrying around your, well, wallet for now.
Once again Google is thinking big, but let’s see if it will widen its network enough for Wallet to truly take off.