Back in November, Google’s Eric Schmidt teased the crowd at Web 2.0 about Google’s plans for NFC mobile payments using the Android OS, and introduced the Samsung Nexus S running Gingerbread and an NFC chip by NXP. It turns out that as early as August, according to the 451 Group, a technology industry Analyst company, Google also had purchased Canadian stealth startup Zetawire, which likely has a product built around a payment, identity management and advertising system, based on Zetawire’s open patent application.
Google is moving quickly into the mobile payment arena, but with Google, it’s a lot more than just payments. The company has also been active around location-based and mobile marketing and advertising with the launch of the more robust Google Places and its new Hotspot service. Now, with Near Field Communication (NFC) coming closer to reality (led by Google’s Android OS Nexus S smartphone), the company is increasingly well-positioned to capitalize on the coming boom in mobile payments:
- Android smartphones (Nexus S), with built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities
- Google Places and Hotspot, a fast-growing directory of businesses, along with a Marketing/Advertising platform (remember, Google controls online search results also, which often display Google Places company listings)
- Mobile marketing
- Google Checkout
Now covering the spectrum of actions from the search, to the ad or merchant listing, to the click, to the promotion coupon to the payment, Google has a lot of touch-points to profit from, and to track ROI.
While some of Google’s previous efforts to branch out its offering of services have withered (Social Networking, for example), the company caught a huge break while Apple’s iPhone was stuck at ATT by launching the very successful Android OS for a generation of smartphones running on alternate networks such as Verizon’s. By August of this year, Nielsen reported that new smartphone subscribers choosing Android phones were at 27 percent, surpassing Apple iPhone’s 23% share.