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Cellphones Google The Almighty Buck

Google Wallet Launches With $10 Credit 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-your-phone-even-more-irreplacable dept.
Following up on our digital wallet discussion yesterday, CWmike writes "Google officially launched its Google Wallet application today for NFC-ready Sprint Nexus S 4G phone users. The application launches initially for Citi MasterCard credit card holders, but Google also said today that Visa, Discover and American Express will be able to add their cards to future versions of Google Wallet. The application, first announced in May, was described in an official blog post. Visa said in a separate statement that it has licensed Google to use Visa's PayWave technology, used in 'hundreds of thousands' of terminals worldwide. But Visa didn't describe a timeline for when that function would be enabled. Google said it will allow users to add any bank card to a Google Prepaid Card and they will receive $10 to try the service." Reviews of the service are popping up, and many seem to say the same thing; when it works, it's great, but your real wallet isn't going anywhere.
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Google Wallet Launches With $10 Credit

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  • now they know what kind of porn i buy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by XPeter (1429763)

      You BUY porn?

      • by Lifyre (960576)

        Not very often but sometimes it sneaks in with the Cheetos and Mountain Dew... Why? What do YOU buy?

      • Some people have such specific fetishes that they pay to have a film produced. Take the story of Scat Swapping School Swallow [somethingawful.com], for example. In 2004, a movie about pooping back and forth was proposed on Something Awful to someone with connections to a Brazilian porn studio specializing in requests. By June, the film was complete, and it was being distributed under the name "swap.avi". A year later, other films were referencing it [wikipedia.org].
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday September 19, 2011 @06:26PM (#37450554) Homepage

    So, if my physical wallet isn't going anywhere because I still need it for all the cards, cash and stuff I need to carry that I can't put on my phone, and I still need actual cards for merchants who don't have the right tech at their registers, what exactly does Google Wallet do for me? I can't think of a time when I'd have my phone and wouldn't have my wallet on me, so it's not convenience. About all it seems to do is enable Google to watch what I purchase. Sorry, I'm going to need something of benefit to me first.

    • by Karganeth (1017580) on Monday September 19, 2011 @06:44PM (#37450736)
      Yawn. It's clearly progress. Ideally everything in your wallet could be in your phone, so this is just a step towards that. It's not pointless, its progress.
      • by tepples (727027)

        Ideally everything in your wallet could be in your phone

        And ideally, smartphones would be in everyone's pocket.. But cellular carriers in the home country of Google and Slashdot continue to price smartphone service as a luxury.

        • Ideally everything in your wallet could be in your phone

          And ideally, smartphones would be in everyone's pocket.. But cellular carriers in the home country of Google and Slashdot continue to price smartphone service as a luxury.

          I wouldn't consider my smartphone a "Luxury". I paid $110 for my phone and only pay $25 a month for unlimited text, data and 300 minutes of voice through VirginMobile. Sure it isn't a high end phone and doesn't have the greatest coverage over the US, but where it does have coverage it is generally great and it fits all of my needs as of right now.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        library card, NO
        driver's license, NO
        cash, NO
        postage stamps, NO
        receipt from store, NO
        business cards, NO
        employer-provided keycard, NO
        foreign currency, NO
        insurance card, NO
        rolling papers, NO

        So I do without all those things, and some more I didn't think of, and switch to electronic versions of credit cards and ... I guess just credit cards. Oh shit, my battery is down, I'm out of the service area, I got wet, I'm on an airplane, etc.

        And not to mention, I don't do online banking because it's a huge security hole

        • So you get bank and credit card papers in the mail instead? Is that more secure?
        • What I'm curious about is, do the current limits of NFC payment systems apply to this?

          I have a Visa PayWave debit card, and I can't make purchases with the NFC portion of it if the total is greater than £15. That's fine for the card, because it also works as a Chip&PIN card. But that's not possible with a phone.

          To cut a long story short, unless/until the £15 limit goes away, you're still going to have to carry a regular card in a regular wallet.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          rolling papers, NO

          "tobacco", NO
          lighter, NO

          I think you're stretching a bit there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DogDude (805747)
        It's stupid. My wallet doesn't require a service agreement.
      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday September 19, 2011 @09:47PM (#37452036) Homepage

        Exactly what problem does putting the contents of your wallet in your phone solve? Maybe it's just me, but a physical wallet is hardly a great burden to be carrying around, given it's an object sizing somewhere around 12 cm x 10 cm x 1 cm and weighing well under 1 kg.

        See, that's my definition of "progress": Using technology and knowledge to solve a demonstrable problem. If you haven't solved a problem, all you've done is created Yet Another Payment System.

        • by Cyberax (705495)

          Well, my wallet got stolen recently. So I've lost a couple hundreds of dollars, several bank cards, my driving license and several club cards.

          Right now I have spare change in all pockets, about $100 in various banknotes, NYC MetroCard, Moscow Subway pass and Kiev subway card. I keep my driving license in a separate pocket along with my keys and my bank card.

          I won't mind replacing all those subway passes and loose change with NFC and an app on my phone. Sure, I'll lose some privacy - but it's not like I care

          • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Monday September 19, 2011 @11:54PM (#37452714)

            Well, my wallet got stolen recently. So I've lost a couple hundreds of dollars, several bank cards, my driving license and several club cards. ...snip...

            I won't mind replacing all those subway passes and loose change with NFC and an app on my phone. Sure, I'll lose some privacy - but it's not like I care much (Google already knows what I purchase and I also use Google Latitude). It won't replace my credit card and I'll keep some money just in case, but everything that helps to get rid of clutter is welcome.

            Stupid question - and what happens when your PHONE is stolen? Or you left it behind? Or you dropped it?

            So now you've lost your wallet and your phone. And now you're stuck because you have no cash, and no way to call for help.

            That being said, I hope NFC enforces user confirmation. Walking around with a mobile NFC terminal, just like those RFID readers would be great fun...

            • TFA specifically says that NFC is disabled when screen is off, and the phone will also ask you for PIN if you haven't made any other purchase within the last few minutes.

            • by Tim C (15259)

              what happens when your PHONE is stolen? Or you left it behind? Or you dropped it?

              Never mind that, what happens when you forget to charge it (perhaps you're out all night and can't) and the battery dies?

          • Or your phone gets stolen and you lose all that too. In fact it makes you phone more attractive because now not only is it an expensive piece of hardware that can get someone free calls but it gives them access to all that stuff

            Plus if you drop your phone or the battery runs out you're fucked and because Google is handling everything for you the person doesn't have to necessarily be physically near you to steal your data.

            I'm not really seeing the benefit certainly not while battery life on phones is p
            • by Cyberax (705495)

              If my phone is stolen I can just buy another phone and have everything back up and running in about 1 hour.

              Battery issue is the problem, but I'm already pretty much screwed if important calls can't get through to me. So I always carry a spare battery.

              • You could have any phone in an hour but if you want a specific one you are reliant on it being in stock and you don't have your original sim card so either have a different number and start from scratch or wait days for the other sim to be deactivated and your number assigned to the new card and sent out to you and if you're on holiday what are you going to buy a Japanese phone for example? Replacing a wallet and phone with a phone and battery isn't an advance. It's a step backwards.
                • by Cyberax (705495)

                  Well, that's in YOUR country. In my country I can get replacement SIM card in 15 mins in any office of my phone operator (been there, done that) and then wait around 30 minutes for its activation. My phone is Galaxy S which is pretty common here as well, and I backup everything to my home PC.

                  And I believe that battery life will in future be improved (possibly by switch to fuel cells). Wallets can't really be improved.

        • The Google Wallet technology sounds more secure than the current magnetic strip on the back of a plastic card solution. But to address your point, putting the information on my phone makes it more accessible. I don't carry a phonebook anymore because it's on my phone. I can search the information much faster. For a credit card solution, having it on my phone can give me information about my expenditures much faster than using an online banking app.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        Yawn. It's clearly progress. Ideally everything in your wallet could be in your phone, so this is just a step towards that. It's not pointless, its progress.

        Progression rather - can't call it progress thought, not yet.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Yeah pretty much. Then again...welcome to north america. Where Japan and S.Korea were doing this in 2002.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      I think it's pretty obvious that, as of right now, your real wallet isn't going anywhere. However, technology has to start somewhere (i.e. even before widespread adoption) and eventually, tech like this will be usable nearly anywhere. Like credit cards are now, but weren't when they first started.

      So what's the benefit now? Not much. What will be the benefit? Potentially a lot.

      • by Macrat (638047)

        So what's the benefit now? Not much. What will be the benefit? Potentially a lot.

        A lot of profitable fees for the cell phone companies.

        • by rockout (1039072)
          What's the benefit of the automobile? It's just gonna make those oil companies rich. Forget it, then. Bunch of crap!
    • by chrb (1083577)

      You could say the same thing about any debit card - why would you need one, when you still need to carry cash for retailers who don't take cards? And yet, people still use them... so, advantages:

      (over cash) You don't have to go to an ATM. Fewer coins to carry around.

      (over credit card) It's prepaid, so you don't need a credit contract.

      (over prepaid debit card) It authenticates you, so it can be used to store other data that is linked to your identity (loyalty cards, travel passes etc.) Automated accoun

      • by hedwards (940851)

        None of those are advantages. The authentication isn't something that should be unique to this service. The folks at the store are supposed to be authenticating that you are who you say you are.

        Linking hundreds of accounts to one is risky business. If somebody manages to break into that one account, then you're SOL.

        As for the prepaid nature of it, for folks that really need that, you can get a prepaid credit card, and I'm sure there are other methods of doing that such as a debit card.

        Ultimately, this is ju

        • by chrb (1083577)

          None of those are advantages. The authentication isn't something that should be unique to this service. The folks at the store are supposed to be authenticating that you are who you say you are.

          Yes, and how do they do that? By using some kind of ID. Usually a different card for every service. This collapses all that into a single card, which is more convenient. Travel passes and other cards are usually machine readable already, so this doesn't really do anything different.

          Linking hundreds of accounts to one is risky business. If somebody manages to break into that one account, then you're SOL.

          Behold, the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket" - which is but a matter of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention"; but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and - WATCH THAT BASKET.

    • There was a time when people just carried cash. Then some carried cash and credit cards and finding a place that accepted them was the exception instead of the rule. Now, some don't carry cash. If Google can get their wallet taken anywhere Visa is accepted, I can see some people leaving their credit cards at home. I could even see the potential for people never getting a physical credit card someday. Next up, Google ID :\

      BTW I have a dumb phone so I am personally not interested in it at this point.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Even replacing a fraction of the cards in your wallet would be a big improvement. I have loads of gift cards with unknown balances that I don't use because I don't like to carry a thick wallet.

      The article doesn't address this, but a huge benefit for me would be if the point-of-sale terminal sends an itemized receipt to your smartphone in return. This would give people a whole new level of convenience and control in tracking their purchases. (Insert possible big-brother issues...)

    • Of course it benefits you. It makes you "hip" and satisfies your curiosity, both at the same time! Just get one and you'll find out.

      Whoa. Some advertisement just channeled itself through me. How did that happen?

    • by antdude (79039)

      So you prefer a fat wallet? :D

    • by vlm (69642)

      So, if my physical wallet isn't going anywhere because I still need it for all the cards, cash and stuff I need to carry that I can't put on my phone, and I still need actual cards for merchants who don't have the right tech at their registers, what exactly does Google Wallet do for me? I can't think of a time when I'd have my phone and wouldn't have my wallet on me, so it's not convenience.

      /. has one of these posts roughly twice a week. I had the same opinion about two weeks ago and I've since come up with a couple "real" apps where I could possibly "pay with my phone"

      1) Vending machines. Prices locally have skyrocketed up to about $1 per item, which explains the sudden shocking popularity of $1 coins, because the machines give them out as change for $5 bills, etc. Also a single coin equals a bag of M&Ms or whatever your chosen poison is. Junk food, stamps, contraception, whatever. T

  • by mTor (18585) on Monday September 19, 2011 @06:31PM (#37450622)

    I simply do not trust Google with anything personal and I will not use this service.

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      That's one reason, but what's most concerning to me is Google's abysmal customer service record. If there's a problem with this service or some fraudulent charges, I don't want to be stuck waiting to talk to a real person for months while getting the runaround from their automated response systems. Even if they were to ensure that my purchase history will not be available to anyone but me, I wouldn't touch their service until they can show that they're able to deal with their customers in a timely and adequ
      • by TyFoN (12980)

        Since it's still a visa card or mastercard I'd guess you still talk to the bank about backcharges and fraud. The only thing is that your phone is now the plastic.

    • Google knows everything about you, they insist you use your birth name that no one freaking knows you by on the internet and NOW they want access to my credit cards? No thank you. Google is the company who said they would never be evil, and now they are being much more evil and big brother-ish than any other company. Sigh.... but there are people who would sell their souls for $10. I have more principles than that.
    • by trojjan (994851)
      Ok so I'm guessing you've never used a credit card. But in case you have, what makes you trust Visa/Mastercard more than google. Is it just because google's primary source of revenue is advertisement?
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday September 19, 2011 @06:33PM (#37450642) Journal
    Unfortunately, to receive the $10 credit, you have to have the NFC chip implanted either in the forehead or the back of the hand....
    • I'm in so long as the firmware is open and the signing keys are available. A reprogrammable chip implanted for free - cool!

  • So you have to have a NFC-ready Sprint Nexus S 4G phone and a Citi MasterCard? That sounds like a very narrowly defined target audience to me. I wonder what their marketing department told them about those people.
    • by Ksevio (865461)
      Probably that that group of people have the phone with compatible hardware and a credit card with the compatible network (already uses paypass)
    • There aren't many NFC phones yet, but this is changing. This all is still an "early beta" in practice, though. Same reason for card limitation for now. But it seems they're going to get Visa onboard, and that would be fairly big.

    • by CompMD (522020)

      Why is there no mention of the GSM Nexus S, the one that actually works outside the US and has an NFC chip?

  • Google already owns everything about me and knows all there is to know, so why not?

    I'm kinda serious here -- unless you basically boycott the Internet and hide whenever the Streetview car comes, there's no way you've never contributed to Google's vast knowledge base. It's just a fact of modern life that Google knows as much about you as you're willing to give, which for most people including me is basically everything.

    And the sky hasn't fallen. Google is tech company run by tech people; they're not selling

  • ...and thus, a second rate citizen in google's eyes. To be clear, once I started PAYING for a google service, I lost functionality with a fuzzy promise date of "soon" ( for the past 6 months ).

    I don't think I'll be jumping on board this particular bandwagon, thanks.

    • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Monday September 19, 2011 @08:17PM (#37451498) Homepage

      ...and thus, a second rate citizen in google's eyes. To be clear, once I started PAYING for a google service, I lost functionality with a fuzzy promise date of "soon" ( for the past 6 months ).

      I don't think I'll be jumping on board this particular bandwagon, thanks.

      Complaining that beta-quality software isn't available on paid production systems seems a little odd.

      • If you'll note, that's not the heart of the complaint. It's google's behavior over the issue. There has been no commitment to the completion of the project. In fact, the only commitment that anyone from google has made has been "soon".

        The lack of professionalism to committing to any kind of time frame for their paying customers is, frankly, unacceptable. I had been recommending small businesses take a look at google apps, but have since begun recommending o365. It's more expensive, but at least they se

        • by Shikaku (1129753)

          Considering Google's core functionality is ADS and SEARCH, and everything extra is literally done on employee spare time (20% to be exact), I don't think you can honestly expect a timeframe unless Google decides to hire people specifically for it.

          • Considering Google's core functionality is ADS and SEARCH, and everything extra is literally done on employee spare time (20% to be exact), I don't think you can honestly expect a timeframe unless Google decides to hire people specifically for it.

            Google apps is billed as:

            24/7 Phone support and 99.9% uptime guarantee
            25GB storage per user, no ads
            Blackberry and Microsoft Outlook interoperability
            Virus and spam protection by Postini

            And it costs real money. That hardly sounds like a pet project of individuals. I agree with OP, the support and feature parity does not live up to what a normal person would expect.

          • If they're charging for it, it's a bit disingenuous to still call it beta though...

        • If you'll note, that's not the heart of the complaint. It's google's behavior over the issue. There has been no commitment to the completion of the project. In fact, the only commitment that anyone from google has made has been "soon".

          The lack of professionalism to committing to any kind of time frame for their paying customers is, frankly, unacceptable. I had been recommending small businesses take a look at google apps, but have since begun recommending o365. It's more expensive, but at least they seem to care about the customer.

          Well - don't use the product you didn't pay for. I'm sure a beta-tester that doesn't test is no loss.

          What was that fable about the fox's tail?

          Suggestion - if you don't like something. Don't do it. But don't think playing Henny Penny is going to get you a daytime television chat show (or respect).

  • by Ritchie70 (860516) on Monday September 19, 2011 @09:48PM (#37452038) Journal

    I'd just like to point out:

    There are roughly 14,000 McDonald's in the USA.

    Virtually all of them take credit and debit cards and have 3 - 5 card readers.

    Virtually all of those card readers can take Visa PayWave, as well as the similar technology from AmEx, MasterCard and Discover.

    So all "hundreds of thousands" means is they got maybe a half-dozen large chains to put the silly things in around the world. Statistically speaking, nobody accepts them.

  • If Google, Paypal, Apple or whoever tries to insert themselves into the transaction it means stores now have the burden of two payment processors to worry about - the credit card that initially funded the "wallet" plus whatever markup Google / Paypal / Apple slaps on top of that.

    How is this in any way a good thing for a vendor? I have to wonder what Visa / Mastercard are doing with NFC / contactless payments while all this is going on. I would have thought it would be vastly preferable for stores (and con

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