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Google CEO Eric Schmidt speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.  (Source: Reuters)
Rolls out new shopping tools to help consumers

Currently, when someone tells you they just Googled something, it is generally understood to mean that they performed a keyword web search. But if the Mountainview, Calif.-based company has its way, the term "Googling" might soon have all new implications. Think: "Will that be cash, credit, or Google?"

While Google didn't unleash Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" on the world yesterday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, as some had speculated, CEO Eric Schmidt was on hand to talk about some features Google is working on. One of the most impressive was the inclusion of mobile web pay in the update to the mobile OS.

As Reuters reports, Schmidt showed off an as-yet-unreleased phone, which includes a special chip that replaces a credit card when paying for goods and services. The technology, called Near Field Communications (NFC), will be integrated into Gingerbread (which will be available "in a few weeks"). A consumer simply taps the phone against a special terminal when paying for an item, and the process acts like swiping a credit card.

"One way to think about it is, this could replace your credit card," Schmidt said at the Web 2.0 Summit. "My guess is that there are going to be 500 new startups in the mobile payment space as these platforms emerge." He said that Google did not have plans to develop its own applications that would take advantage of the new technology, and that Google will partner partner with payment processors and others in the traditional credit card industry rather than compete with them.

Reuters notes that NFC technology has been available for years, but should become more popular thanks to Google's ubiquitous Android operating system, which now makes up a quarter of all smartphone sales worldwide and nearing half of the U.S. smartphone market. If this all sounds too familiar, it's because it closely resembles a plan unveiled in August by three of the major U.S. wireless carriers to work together to develop a system of paying for goods via mobile device.

Google is also enhancing some of its standard search features to help consumers shop, just in time for the holiday shopping blitz. When searching for a product in the Shopping tool, Google will now display stores near your location that carry the item, in addition to online retailers. The new capability should boost traditional brick-and-mortar retail sales.

"We're bridging these two offline and online shopping channels," Sameer Samat, Google's director of commerce told PCWorld.

But the added functionality is also aimed to emulate the in-store experience. Areas called "popular products" and "aisles" will be added, where related products to the ones searched for will be displayed, similar to Amazon's tab that shows what other people also bought in addition to the product you are viewing. These features should be available from Google later this week.

Finally, Google is also improving its Google Shopper application for Android. GoogleMobile blog writes: "In addition to existing, popular features like local availability, fast barcode scanning and voice search, version 1.3 includes new search filters like “price” and “brand” to help users refine their searches to find the perfect product."

Version 1.3 will also add a "featured lists" section that will allow users to browse through lists of suggested items and where to find them. The new version of Google Shopper will only be available in the U.S. for now.



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But ...
By dani31 on 11/16/2010 9:05:27 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Google's Gingerbread Aims to Replace Credit Cards


... so does Symbian. A few Nokia phones already have NFC, and all Nokia smartphones will have it in 2011.

And this has been announced half a year ago already.




RE: But ...
By quiksilvr on 11/16/2010 9:10:26 AM , Rating: 1
Um...good for Nokia?


RE: But ...
By Da W on 11/16/10, Rating: 0
RE: But ...
By Redwin on 11/16/2010 9:30:55 AM , Rating: 2
... but you know what Nokia doesn't have?

Android's market penetration or Google's corporate clout.

It will take both to convince even a small number of people to switch to NFC. I'm not sure even Google will be able to pull it off, but I know for damn sure Nokia never will.


RE: But ...
By kingius on 11/16/2010 11:57:32 AM , Rating: 3
Do you know what it does have?

Much higher sales. Nokia are _the worlds number one_ handset seller.


RE: But ...
By Totally on 11/16/2010 3:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
and? We're talking smartphones, not generic cell phones. I can't even remember the last time I saw a Nokia NXXX.


RE: But ...
By kingius on 11/17/2010 11:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
Smart phones are a small slice of the big pie.

What makes you think this would be restricted to smart phones? The idea is to get it into _every_ phone that's sold.


RE: But ...
By tastyratz on 11/16/2010 3:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
agreed. Google has a lot more weight than Nokia, and android spans multi carrier / multi brand. Google has the capability to carry this beyond just a few android phones.

I would like to see this integrate with online capabilities as a paypal competitor (although its just wishful thinking).


RE: But ...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 11/16/2010 3:05:25 PM , Rating: 2
"Google will partner with payment processors and others in the traditional credit card industry rather than compete with them."

^^This is the most important part of what they are trying to accomplish here; push this technology forward with their might in the industry (find partners willing to invest), the fact that NFC were implemented on "Nokia" phones a while back is absolutely irrelevant to accessibility and convenience of this technology to consumers, especially in the US market.


nothing new
By mfenn on 11/16/2010 10:13:26 AM , Rating: 3
This tech has been around in Japan for years.




RE: nothing new
By jimbojimbo on 11/16/2010 11:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
But notice you're reading it in English on a US site and most people reading this are in the US.


RE: nothing new
By Mojo the Monkey on 11/23/2010 4:38:32 PM , Rating: 2
And also - who cares? Is my ultra thin and small credit card really that much of a burden to have with me? (I need my ID anyway) Enough of a burden to get "excited" about this new tech?

What a waste of time.


RE: nothing new
By Strunf on 11/17/2010 7:24:12 AM , Rating: 2
It's stated in the article that the technology has been available for years, the standard dates from 2003.
It's widely used in Japan cause there your mobile phone is an extension of your body...


Boost B&M sales...right?!
By Golgatha on 11/16/2010 9:31:57 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
When searching for a product in the Shopping tool, Google will now display stores near your location that carry the item, in addition to online retailers. The new capability should boost traditional brick-and-mortar retail sales.


No, it will lead to more sales Online. It goes like this. The customer goes to the store, gets to fiddle with the product on the shelf of the B&M store, and then purchases it Online for 1/2 the price. This will be especially true at Best Buy.




RE: Boost B&M sales...right?!
By Wererat on 11/17/2010 9:01:45 AM , Rating: 2
I already do this ... the Android Amazon app scans barcodes, so I can look at nearly anything, point my phone at it, and find out what Amazon's price is. (Any smartphone could also search by hand with the product name or #, but this is fast)

Sometimes the B&M store has the better deal :)


Replace CC with Phone? Why?
By osalcido on 11/17/2010 2:10:24 AM , Rating: 2
Google says theyll be working with CC companies on the backend... so youre still stuck with your CC provider. What benefit do you get from replacing the card with the chip?




RE: Replace CC with Phone? Why?
By Yames on 11/17/2010 3:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
Its just that you will look cool when you wave your phone over the scanner and the screen pops up "Approved". Credit cards are for old people.


Makes perfect sense
By spazze on 11/16/2010 11:55:17 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
He said that Google did not have plans to develop its own applications that would take advantage of the new technology, and that Google will partner partner with payment processors and others in the traditional credit card industry rather than compete with them.


I wonder if they will partner with Little Ceasars for some pizza pizza. Or perhaps they are partnering with a partner of another partner in the payment processing partner's partnering pool.




Fake money replacing fake money
By Reader11722 on 11/16/10, Rating: 0
“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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