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The search giant has just published a patent application for an SMS text message-payment system, ostensibly dubbed "Gpay", which would allow mobile users signed up to the system to make private transactions for goods and services.
While SMS text message-based payment systems have certainly been developed before, no doubt Google will try to do things differently. The patent application, originally filed in February 2006, envisages payments for conventional retail shopping as well as buying from vending machines using the payment system. A Google spokesman said:
"We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't."
The filing further fueled speculation that Google is set to make a move into mobile phone market with a mobile device platform that will be loaded onto various handsets from HTC and others, offering built-in compatibility for Gmail and Google Calendar as well as the company's voice over internet protocol system Google Talk.