Google is rumoured to be on the verge of launching its long-awaited NFC-based mobile wallet today.
Google has posted a teaser video for its Google Wallet starring the hapless George Costanza of hit US comedy Seinfeld, and business partners have apparently received a message that today is the launch day, according to TechCrunch.
Additionally, a staffer at tech blog GigaOm has snapped a photo of a Vivotech-branded contactless terminal which invites users to pay with their Google Wallet smartphone in a Peet’s Coffee shop in San Francisco — though the service has been field testing since May so this may not be a reliable indicator.
The 40-second Seinfeld video is a Google Wallet branded remix of a scene in which Costanza introduces just one more tiny piece of paper to his severely overstuffed wallet — the source of the term ‘Costanza wallet’ — causing it to explode in a shower of receipts, banknotes, reminders and more. The implication is that the character might benefit from being Google Wallet’s first customer.
Adding to the anticipation for a release of the search giant’s mobile wallet, Mastercard demonstrated how it would work at an event last week. The demo, said Engadget, was carried out with Nexus S 4G devices from Sprint in the US and enable users to connect a Citi MasterCard account to the service and then ‘tap and pay’ at any retail location outfitted with a PayPass contactless terminal.
The Nexus S 4G, only available from Sprint, is the sole mobile phone currently compatible with the product, so usage is set to be limited at first.
However, the next Google phone, the Nexus Prime, is expected to arrive in October. It will also be NFC enabled, and will be available to the Verizon user base in the US.
Google also has an NFC sticker available that can be used to bring other mobile phones into the programme, but it is not known if this will be ready at the launch of the wallet and how much of the Google Wallet experience it will deliver.
In June Google’s VP of payments, Osama Bedier, told NFC World how the company plans to leverage the Wallet product to deliver offers to consumers and new customers to merchants, and described the project as “one of the biggest investments we’ve made at Google for a very long time.”