Taking advantage of near-field communications (NFC) technology, Google's android now comes equiped with a app and an NFC chip that allows consumers to pay for goods and services with a quick swipe of their phone. Different from Jack Dorsey's Square technology, the phone does not require any additional hardware in order to complete transactions. Reports are that Sprint, Citibank, MasterCard, Subway, Macy's, Walgreens, Toys 'R Us, and First Data are partnering with Google. And with Mastercard's backing, Google Wallet will be fully compatible with their already existing PayPass system.
And to entice consumer usage, Google is implementing their own take on Groupon with Google Offers. Tallying loyalty cards, coupons and purchase points, Google hopes to capitalize on their strong suit: advertising. Right now, Google's Sprint Nexus S 4G works with this technology but other Androids will be rolling in. RIM's already commited to implementing this technology in future Blackberry releases. Alternatively, phones without built-in NFC could add an NFC sticker ($36), which will need to be implemented on any iPhone device due to Apple's reticence to "buy in" to NFC technology. Check out this definitive list of NFC phones if you want to know if which phones are or will be NFC. Notably, Hong Kong and Japan implemented NFC technology a number of years ago and it continues to be a success.
So what's in it for the lawyers, you ask?
Imagine this if you will: a new client comes to you to lay out the facts of his fantastic claims of his wife's/partner's/competitor's flagrant breach, evidenced by text messages that he shows on his phone. You agree: the evidence is solid. Then you ask him for a retainer. He pulls out the same phone, you push forward your NFC chip reading device (I've seen them sell for anywhere from $50-$250) and, VOILA! His money is now your money.
So, you ask, what's in it for Google? Surely, they are getting a cut or fee? Nope. What they are, and always have been banking on, is data.
Yep, once again, privacy rears its nosy little head.
Google's gonna know what I bought, where I bought it, who I bought it from ... you get my drift.
So you see, there will always be a market for cash ...