Recent reports out of the Mashable camp claim Google will soon test a service enabling store customers to pay for items at the register using their mobile phones.
According to unnamed sources snitching to Bloomberg, the mobile payment trial will take place across thousands of stores in New York and San Francisco within the next four months.
The loose-lipped source said near-field communications (NFC)–enabled devices – which mirror contactless payment cards – would be used at checkouts. “The Google service may combine a consumer’s financial account information, gift-card balances, store loyalty cards and coupon subscriptions on a single NFC chip on a phone,” Bloomberg reported.
The technology has also been earmarked by Samsung, Nokia, and Apple as the one to bring mobile payments to the mainstream in 2011. However, to date only Samsung’s Nexus S, sporting Android’s Gingerbread OS, has been shipped NFC-ready.
Google vice president of engineering, Andy Rubin, said at the Nexus S’ unveiling in late-2010: “We co-developed this product with Samsung – ensuring tight integration of hardware and software to highlight the latest advancements of the Android platform.” Google CEO Eric Schmidt has since backed up Rubin’s claims. He told the New York Times during February‘s Mobile World Congress that the internet behemoth would partner with advertisers to “extend offers to phones with NFC chips.”
NFC technology isn’t new. A short-range wireless system that transfers data between devices, it’s stayed under the radar in mobile circles due to disputes over security and technology standards. Google chose to stay schtum when Mashable contacted it regarding the lastest round of rumours.