News by Andrew Kameka on Monday August 27, 2012.
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Aside from the payment and loyalty card information that Google Wallet already stores, Google hopes to include boarding passes, identification cards, and everything you'd find in a normal wallet. In a Q&A session hosted on YouTube, Robin Dua, head of product management for Google Wallet, said that Google wants Wallet to go beyond just mobile payments. The company hopes to be the tool used to store all relevant consumer information, including gift cards, travel itineraries, concert tickets, and more. When asked how Google would go beyond its current payment options, Dua said:
"One of the types of things we're trying to do is make it easy for airlines, transit providers, and other types of issuers of credentials to make it super simple for them to get their credentials stored in the wallet...That's the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device."
Google initially pitched Wallet as a way to ease the purchase process in stores. The company now says it envisions Wallet growing to the point that it can be an actual replacement for a wallet, and it will need to do more than just buy sandwiches and coffee for that to happen.
Apple has outlined a similar goal with the Passbook feature in the upcoming version of its software for iPhone and iPad devices. Passbook does not support mobile payments, but it securely stores reward cards, movie tickets, boarding passes, and loyalty cards. Passbook uses partnerships with major retailers and service providers to act as a mobile wallet, but Apple could expand the app to include NFC-based payments in the future.
Both Apple and Google will be in direction competition, but they will not be the only companies vying to be the leading mobile wallet provider. Payment ventures like ISIS, MCX, PayPal, and several others will also challenge Google's efforts.
Dua said that Google Wallet will differentiate from competitors by moving beyond standard in-store payments. Google is working with transit agencies to enable buying passes with Google Wallet. A pilot program with the New Jersey Transit system already permits payments on some bus lines, but Google wants to make it easier to monitor balances on monthly cards and let users skip the pass lines entirely.
Other goals for Google Wallet include letting users send money to other consumers, and adding geo-targeting for automatic retrieval of records. For instance, the app would load a loyalty card balance or coupon when the phone's location services reveal that the user is in a movie theatre.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.