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.