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Google Developing NFC Based Payments Service

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Google is reported to be considering building a micro payment and advertisign service that will be based on Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, which is increasingly being included in smartphones.

Citing two people familiar with the plans, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the service may make its debut later this year. The move could be an attempt to boost the fortunes of Google's own online payments platform, which has struggled to compete against PayPal's dominance in the online payments market.

Speaking about NFC at a technology conference in November, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said, "You'll be able to walk in a store and do commerce. You'd bump for everything and eventually replace credit cards." Andy Rubin, Google's vice-president for engineering, declined to comment on future services and products.

Google's latest smartphone, the Samsung supplied Nexus S supports some NFC features, although most of them are dormant in the current OS variant supplied with the handset. There are also SIM cards now available that include NFC capability so that the service can be deploying into older handsets, although they then might lack a smartphone grade user interface.

Bloomberg also noted that Google is ramping up efforts to seed merchants nationwide with NFC tags, which can be read by NFC-enabled phones. Since mid-December, it has handed out hundreds of NFC kits - including window tags and fortune cookies to give to customers - to businesses in Oregon, where Google is testing a project called Hotpot.

On the web: Bloomberg Businessweek

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Tags: nfc  near field communication  google  nexus s  nexus  USA