Google hopes George Costanza will make us care about Google Wallet when it launches today

Posted In Android, Mobile Web - By Ryan On Monday, September 19th, 2011 With 0 Comments

Google will launch their much-hyped (yes, Google, the world is just drooling to use yet another of your branded products) mobile payment service, Google Wallet, later today and they’ve dragged George Costanza back from the 80s TV sitcom Seinfeld to help communicate their futuristic thinking. Ironic much?

The mechanics behind GWallet are simple enough, allowing Android users to pay for real-world purchases by tapping their phone on a PayPass Station unit at participating stores. No cash, no cards and no wallet required. That’s the idea anyway – and it’s an idea that only a fraction of the market will be able to use right now. The service will initially only be available to PayPass enabled Citi MasterCard holders who also own a Google Nexus S 4G (sold by Sprint), and only at stores with the PayPass Station. No iPhone, no BlackBerry, no Nokia, no Windows Phone. Talk about a niche market.

Google achieves this easy method of payment by using near field communication (NFC) that enables handsets to instantly and securely communicate with a receiving device simply through the two devices touching each other. There aren’t many NFC-enabled phones on the market just yet but Google hopes to see an increased demand for Google Wallet by the time they launch their NFC-ready Samsung Galaxy Prime handset on 3 November.

If Google’s strategy is to create products that only support Android, and thereby increase the desire for Android handsets, it’s a risky one at best. Google has faced the wrath of consumer disinterest before and to expect different results by painting them into a corner is a little like Henry Ford offering any car colour as long as it’s black while Mazda, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lincoln all open up shop with a range of 50 colours to choose from.

But perhaps the best summary of the service’s potential, from a user’s perspective, is this comment on the George Costanza ad on YouTube:

“I can’t pay strippers like this”. No sir, I’m afraid you can’t.

About - With at least 20 phones tucked away in drawers around the house and office, Ryan is a buy-to-try mobile consumer and loves playing with new handsets. Right now he's stuck on the iPhone 4.

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