Google is holding a partner event on Thursday, May 26 “to experience our latest innovations”, per the invite above. Bloomberg thinks the obligatory “people familiar with the matter” have nailed the agenda down to a new mobile payment service (and WSJ’s AllThingsD agrees):
The service will let consumers with specially equipped phones that run on Google’s Android operating system pay for goods and redeem coupons with their handsets, said the people, who wouldn’t be identified because the plan isn’t public. The technology is available on the Android-powered Nexus S from Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless operator.
Google’s service is said to utilize NFC (Near Field Communication) technology which requires a phone with an embedded NFC chip and NFC-enhanced cash registers. The combo lets buyers pay for goods simply by waving their phone in front of the cash register. The search company will apparently roll out this service in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC. Could this mark another gold opportunity for the search monster? Sure, and here’s why…
According to a Borrell Associates survey quoted in the Bloomberg story, mobile coupons are projected to top $6.52 billion in 2014, a huge boost from the $370 million in 2010 revenue. Apple as well is rumored to jump on the NFC bandwagon, but it’s unclear whether a fifth-generation iPhone will sport an NFC chip and what moves, if any, the company is planning in this space. RIM in March debuted first NFC-capable BlackBerrys and other phone makers will follow suit. US carriers have also introduced their joint service for on-the-go payments and card issuers like Visa are also watching this lucrative new market. In addition, third-parties like Jack Dorsey’s Square are working on or have already developed interesting solutions for mobile payments.