Google: one third of check-out terminals will support NFC by next year

By on June 23, 2011, 8:30 AM

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt believes that a third of check-out terminals in retail stores and restaurants will be upgraded to support Near Field Communication (NFC). That means if your smartphone supports it, you'll be able to wirelessly "tap and pay" for products at these locations.

Google is encouraging payment processors to upgrade a third of their terminals, which the search giant says is sufficient for wide adoption of the technology. The search giant will likely have a hard time reaching this number, as such upgrades are quite costly and the benefits are really only seen in the long run. 

"Nobody knows how quickly this will occur but it's in their interests to convert as fast as they humanly can," Schmidt said at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, according to Forbes. "I judge that based on how long I think it takes, because the terminals are available now, the software is available now or this summer. How long does it take an infrastructure player to upgrade a significant percentage of their infrastructure – it's on the order of a year, it's not a week, it's not a month but it's also not five years… It's an educated guess."

Last month, Google announced Google Wallet, an app that turns your phone into your wallet, but did not disclose a release date. The company has partnered with Citi, MasterCard, First Data, and Sprint to allow you to tap, pay, and save using your phone.

Although we've known Google has been interested in NFC technology for a long time now, it was confirmed with the release of Android 2.3 (codenamed Gingerbread) late last year. Unfortunately, Google Wallet will only initially be compatible with the Nexus S 4G on Sprint and only where MasterCard PayPass is accepted.

The mobile app will be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards, and gift cards, without the bulk or additional weight. Google Wallet will also sync with Google Offers, which you'll be able to redeem via NFC at participating SingleTap merchants, or by showing the barcode as you check out.

User Comments: 5

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Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yah... now you will have to chain yourself to your cellphone...

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm not sure how I feel about NFC... Part of me thinks it's cooler than the other side of my pillow... Then again, I keep thinking it's more vulnerable than Sony.

MilwaukeeMike said:

This gets the award for 'most arbitrary prediction of the month.' One-third huh? So one out of three check-outs at the grocery store, or one out of three stores, or one out of three cities, or everything on the coasts, but nothing between Las Vegas and Philly, which is 1/3 of the country?

And that's great that VISA and Mastercard are on board, but how about Semicron (?) and other point of sale scanner manufacterers that will be making these things equipped with NFC? Are they on board to only produce new units with NFC?

Cell phones are often front runners in technology because companies give you the latest and greatest cheap to sign a contract.. the actual infrastructure is slow to follow. I've yet to see my 4G equipped phone get a 4G signal here in tiny Milwaukee, so unless Google is going to pay for all the new terminals, I'd say a year is pretty optimistic.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

1/3? Unless they plan on heavily subsidizing it themselves I don't see that. Something like NFC is probably going to go the rate of USB 3.0 adoption, something that gets installed when its time to replace your existing hardware, or if you're buying new hardware.

So if a new store opens (ahem, "in this economy" and they have to buy new checkout equipment, they may go ahead and buy the kind that supports NFC. But would a supermarket chain spend millions to upgrade its existing checkouts? Probably not.

Guest said:

"it's in their interests to convert as fast as they humanly can"

man, this is so stuck up... it's like saying that if you're not using our product, you suck, cos we really are the best and you don't need to question anything, just buy it

"Unfortunately, Google Wallet will only initially be compatible with the Nexus S 4G on Sprint..."

oh so unfortunate really? i wish ggl never did come up with anything (well, i wish ggl never was there in the first place)... for a human being having everything done through the phone, it's a single point of failure... for the rest it's an easy tracking device... not to mention the 666 idea

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