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What Does Google Wallet Need to Succeed? A Habit

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 29-05-2011

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What does Google need to do to make its Google Wallet mobile-payment system a success? Give people confidence. Then make it a habit.

Think about it. So many slight modifications to our daily lifestyle mean so many millions to manufacturers, especially as they’re repeated, day in and day out. And, once established, the cycle self-perpetuates.

Checking email on a BlackBerry. Tweeting. Checking in on Foursquare. A few more actions in CityVille. Planning the fastest route to your destination on a traffic app like Inrix. Keeping tabs on friends in Facebook. All actions that can be performed in a minute or two, several times a day.

The problem with financial applications is that people are afraid of giving up access what they consider to be their most valuable possession: money. My father, an engineer, avoided carrying a pager, a cell phone, or an ATM card until his employer (and his family) dragged him into the twenty-first century. I still haven’t joined Mint.com because, deep down, I’m terrified that my financial information will leak out. For Pete’s sake, Intuit can’t even keep their cloud services up consistently, it seems.

But mobile wallets are another matter. As with the GPS market, the U.S. lags behind Europe, where chips have been built into credit cards for years. When I lived in England, I made the leap from our magnetic-stripe cards to what’s known as “chip and PIN” rather easily; as a chip reporter, I instinctively felt comfortable with my financial information automatically encrypted within a chip, with my four-digit PIN code as the key.

Frankly, I have a difficult time understanding while the technology hasn’t crossed the pond to the U.S., where smartcards are nearly ubiquitous in most corporate enterprises, and are increasingly being used in universities and as stored-value cards for transportation. Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) are now a staple of most business laptops. There’s still a barrier of unfamiliarity that may hold back Google Wallet or a similar technology, but a smart marketing campaign should overcome it.

Launched in beta Thursday, ‘Google Wallet’ is a free Android app that securely stores multiple credit cards, or a Google prepaid card linked to your credit card (one that Google provides). When opened on an NFC-enabled smartphone, you can tap your phone against a supported payment reader and the item you want to purchase is instantly charged to your credit card.

I think there are four problems that need to be solved to assure consumer confidence in Google Wallet. First, customers need to be assured that if they lose their phone, they won’t give a thief access to their bank account. I haven’t seen too many people report that the NFC chip still requires a PIN code to unlock it. I think that’s a critical piece of the puzzle.

Second, the carrier needs to convince the customer that their bank account won’t be vulnerable, period. Customers need to be reassured that their accounts won’t be remotely drained by a malicious NFC reader built into a subway staircase, for example.

Third, compatibility can’t be an issue. I may prefer my local bank because of their service, but I also have to be assured that their checks (and debit cards) can be used at any ATM I please, even if there’s an extra fee. Visa’s proposed alternative with Google Wallet must interoperate, period.

Fourth, if this is a digital wallet – make it one! A year ago, I argued that iPads could be fitted inside cases equipped with Bluetooth keyboards, making them a netbook. By that fall, they were in the market. The same could be done with a case for an NFC phone: include a clear sleeve on the back for an driver’s license or other ID, with maybe a slot for a backup mag-stripe credit card, or cash, for tips.

Make it a habit

One of the best presentations I’ve attended in recent memory was by Kendra Markle, a researcher at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, who explained how mobile apps hook you. Essentially, she said, apps that successfully modified a user’s behavior to make using the app a habit, succeeded.

I doubt this will be an issue with existing Mastercard Paypass customers: there’s not much of a leap between tapping a card and tapping a phone. And U.K. customers shouldn’t have too many issues with “tap and PIN,” assuming Google brings Wallet there, too.

But U.S. consumers need to feel comfortable with tapping their phones. To do that, Sprint, Citibank and Google need to establish a habit. How? Discounts, discounts, discounts. Visit a Starbucks, get 50 percent off a latte – but only if you tap. Movie tickets? A $ 2 discount at your local AMC, for those who use Google Wallet. (Here’s your commercial: Enter customer, dressed in spacesuit. Taps NFC reader. Announcer: “That’s one small tap for man…” Cue 2001 theme.)

If you want cold, calculated behavior modification, look no farther than the morning commute. People sit in the same seats, park in the same spots, buy the same ticket. They’re tired, frazzled, stressed-out zombies. Establish Google Wallet as an adjunct to BART’s Clipper pass, a MetroCard, or other stored wallet system and you win, if only because of habit.

A virtual wallet isn’t going to establish itself overnight. Google’s single phone, the Nexus S, won’t change the world. But over a few years, it might. One tap at a time.

For more from Mark, follow him on Twitter @MarkHachman.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Google Is in Your Wallet

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 26-05-2011

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Google’s new mobile payment, offers and rewards system may be open and secure, but it won’t be alone.

Google Wallet

Years ago I met with an NFC technology company that promised me that, someday, NFC chips would be in phones and we’d be paying with them instead of using old-fashioned credit cards. Back then, France already had NFC-enabled phones. Unfortunately, it took years for the technology to reach U.S. phones and, apparently, Google to figure out how to make a system that could replace not one, but potentially all the credit cards (and rewards cards) in your wallet.

Google’s announcement today was as everyone expected an official unveiling of its NFC-based Google Wallet payment system. The addition of Google Offers was somewhat less expected and probably not exactly welcomed by daily-deal competitors Groupon and LivingSocial.

The Internet giant appears to have thought of everything. This in-phone system will not only work with a select set of Citibank MasterCard credit cards, but with the use of the built-in, prepaid Google card, it’ll let you add funds from virtually any credit card (but you’ll use the Google Card to pay). Paying with an NFC-enabled phone (which Google optimistically says will account for 15% of the mobile phones on the market by the summer) is pretty much like paying with any of the tap-and-go credit cards and fobs you’ve used in the past.

When I looked at NFC years ago and in most of the years since, the biggest question has always been security. By definition, NFC or “Near Field Communication” only works if you are millimeters away from the corresponding transceiver. Still, many consumers I’ve spoken to have expressed concern about the ability of hackers to brush by you and either charge on your cards or pick up your credit card info.

During the Google Wallet rollout, Google made clear that nothing is more important to them than the security of this new commerce ecosystem. Well, except for openness. That’s right; this is an open, free system. Now, Open and Secure seems like a perfect oxymoron, but Google insisted that it’ll make sure it’s “open as possible as long as we do not sacrifice choice or security.” Fair enough. I do think that Google stressed “open” as a way to attract more partners beyond the formidable likes of Citibank, MasterCard, Subway and Walgreens. On the other hand, will credit card competitors and currently not-a-partner Visa see it the same way? Or perhaps we’ll be seeing another mobile payment system from Visa and, maybe, Microsoft or, much more likely Apple.

What if during the upcoming Apple World Wide Developer Conference, Apple’s Steve Jobs stands on stage with an iPhone 4s and announces integrated NFC support and welcomes its new commerce partner Visa? What happens to Google’s open plan then? Nothing really, but we will end up with competing mobile phone payment, ecommerce and rewards plans.

This somehow seems more than likely.

Getting back to what Google unveiled here, I was impressed with its security plans, which includes a PIN number for the Wallet. Google, though, answered the concern about someone slurping your NFC data by turning off the NFC chip when the phone’s screen is dark (as it often is when it’s in your pocket) and the addition of a smart card reader chip that talks to the trusted partner First Data, the company that actually processes the transaction data. That chip will self-destruct if someone tries to hack or crack it. Sounds pretty good.

What Google didn’t say is which phones beyond Sprint’s Nexus S 4G, will have the combination of these two chips. Speaking of Sprint, it is interesting that with the heavy focus on open, Google doesn’t have more carrier support for its Wallet. That’s probably because the other three major U.S. carriers have their own plans for NFC payments in the form of Isis, but that system won’t be rolled out until next year. Sprint promises to work with Android partners Samsung, HTC and others to integrate the chips, but without Verizon and AT&T (two favored Apple partners), one wonders how many NFC- and Google Wallet-enabled handsets will actually arrive.

Google Wallet is free to users and partners, but if you give Google permission, it will use your location and transaction data to deliver you geo-specific offers. I assume Google will make money on those offers in much the same way they do ads. With all the recent issues Google has had with privacy concerns, I’m dubious as to why Google believes any consumer would trust Google with that information (though they’ve trusted credit card companies with it for decades).

For now, the Google Wallet field tests and Offers is only in New York and San Francisco. There are thousands and thousands of merchants ready to accept touch payments, but without the phones, Google Wallet will likely be sampled by a relative few.

The reality is that Google’s plan for the future on mobile commerce, rewards systems and offers, is the right one, but my bet is it will not be the only one and that, in and of itself, could slow down the adoption of your phone as your Wallet. That would be a shame, because I think I’m ready to start carrying around something like a Google Wallet.

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Google Has an Ally in Broadcom on NFC Technology

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 05-05-2011

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Broadcom Chip Broadcom, like Google, is betting big on near-field communication (NFC) technology for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets being widely implemented in the coming months.

While Google vice president of commerce and payments Stephanie Tilenius was touting NFC opportunities at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York on Wednesday, a group of Broadcom executives spoke with journalists about the technology and other looming mobile device trends in San Francisco.

Broadcom is a behind-the-scenes player in the eyes of most consumers, but the wireless and broadband chip maker wants to highlight four mobile technologies it expects to be widely adopted in handsets, tablets and the like over the next several months, said Mike Hurlston, senior vice president and general manager of Broadcom’s Wireless LAN Group.

In addition to NFC, which enables things like paying for groceries at a checkout stand with a mobile phone, Hurlston said Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, and location-based services that work indoors would become “ubiquitous” on mobile devices in varying stages.

All are related to connectivity and communication between mobile devices or between those devices and computers, televisions, and various gadgets like fitness monitoring devices.

Some, like Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth 4.0 “are happening now,” noted Hurlston. With regards to NFC and location-based services that combine GPS and Wi-Fi, the Broadcom executive doesn’t see broad adoption happening until 2012.

“What you’ll see with these technologies is a trend line that’s similar to the way Wi-Fi itself was initially adopted, where it went from 1 percent [of devices] to 10 percent and then it really ‘hockey-sticked,’” Hurlston said.

“Between 10 and 15 percent of all phones will have NFC in 2012. That’s only at about 1 percent right now.”

Broadcom has an obvious stake in pushing this message. Though Wi-Fi Direct and NFC are standards-based and not proprietary to Broadcom, the company is confident it can gain share fast as those technologies are increasingly included in handsets and tablets.

Hurlston said Broadcom produces secure NFC-enabled chips both as a standard internal element for a mobile device and on a SIM card.

Already popular in countries like Japan, the technology has now cleared stricter security hurdles in the U.S. market put forward by credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard. Three of the major U.S. carriers last year outlined plans for Isis, a national payment network that would allow handset users to pay for things like groceries and subway tickets by waving their phone near an NFC-enabled machine.

Google and Sprint will reportedly announce an NFC-based payment system on Android-based Nexus S phones this Thursday, and Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5 is expected to utilize the technology as well.

Whereas NFC involves connecting computing devices at extremely close range, Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth 4.0′s Bluetooth low energy (BLE) feature offer longer range communication. Broadcom on Wednesday demonstrated a Wi-Fi Direct connection between a Motorola Xoom tablet and a television that enabled a driving game being played on the Xoom to appear with scarcely any lag time on the TV.

Though the demo required a stand-alone Wi-Fi Direct transmitter to work, as the technology is built into more mobile devices and television sets, such intermediary hardware wouldn’t be required.

In the meantime, Broadcom will produce a Wi-Fi Direct unit that plugs into televisions that would allow the owner of a Wi-Fi Direct-enabled handset to instantly stream a video or game onto a television with little latency and no wires.

Hurlston said Broadcom sees BLE being used for fitness monitoring devices in particular. The low-energy wireless technology could be used to enable smartphones to communicate more easily with disparate monitoring devices while chewing up a fraction of the battery life that older Bluetooth technology sucked up for such operations, he said.

Finally, Broadcom is touting location-based services such as ads and deals that pop up on a mobile device when a user walks by a retail outlet. Again, that’s not a new idea&#8212in fact, a debate over privacy issues surrounding the location-tracking methods used to provide such services has ratcheted up in recent weeks.

Still, Hurlston said providing such services to mobile device users when they’re indoors has been spotty because GPS doesn’t work well inside. Broadcom’s plan is to combine a device’s GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities to ensure that ads and the like get delivered whether a person is in the mall or at the beach.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.


Franken Asks Apple, Google to Require App Privacy Policy

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 02-05-2011

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senator al franken Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) pinged Apple and Google Wednesday with a letter requesting that the two companies require apps distributed via their online marketplaces have “a clear, understandable privacy policy.”

In the letter addressed to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google CEO Larry Page, Franken writes that such a requirement “would not resolve most of the privacy concerns in the mobile market.

“But it would be a simple first step that would provide users, privacy advocates, and federal consumer protection authorities a minimum of information about what information an app will access and how that app will share the information with third parties.

Noting that Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Marketplace are by far the two largest online app distribution outlets in the world, Franken contended that the two companies were “in a unique position to influence the market for apps and protect users’ privacy within the market.”

At a minimum, Franken asked that Apple and Google require privacy policies for apps that use location tracking, technology that came under fire from privacy advocates when researchers publicized the existence of an unencrypted file storing location data on Apple’s iPhones.

“Although I believe there is a greater need for transparency and disclosure for the collection and sharing of all personal information, at a minimum, I ask that you require all location-aware applications in your app stores to provide privacy policies that clearly specify what kind of location information is gathered from users, how that information is used, and how it is shared with third parties,” the first-term Senator wrote.

Franken last month penned a letter to Apple alone that asked about location tracking on devices running Apple’s iOS 4 mobile operating system.

Apple in early May issued an update to iOS 4 that fixed what it called a “bug” that was not allowing iPhone users to turn off location tracking, while also reducing the size of the cache storing location data and eliminating back-up of the cache on iTunes when users synced their iPhones.

Franken may not have endeared himself to Apple by referring to its competitor Google’s Android Marketplace as an “app store.” Apple is touchy about the name, last week stating in a court filing that it “denies that, based on their common meaning, the words ‘app store’ together denote a store for apps.”

Meanwhile, a reference in the letter to a story by PCMag’s Mark Hachman wrongly attributed the article to PCWorld.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.


Episode 38: Nokia N900 running Google Wave

Posted by admin | Posted in Symbian | Posted on 08-02-2010

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I was wondering how the Nokia N900 Maemo device would cope with Google Wave… would it work? Have Google created a custom version, as they have for iphone and Android? How would it perform? I’m delighted to be able to answer with today’s episode…

How to use Google Maps with the BlackBerry Storm 9500 from Vodafone

Posted by admin | Posted in Blackberry | Posted on 05-02-2010

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A ‘How to’ guide for using Google Maps with the blackberry Storm 9500 mobile phone fromVodafone. For more help and support, please go to Vodafone.co.uk/Help We are always looking to continuously improve our help video’s and would love you to send us some feedback. Please copy and paste the link below into your browser to send us some feedback: www.surveymonkey.com Thanks for viewing!

Google Maps Mobile on Nokia 5130 XpressMusic (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by admin | Posted in Symbian | Posted on 04-02-2010

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Nokia 5130 xpressmusic doesn’t come with Nokia Maps installed. I’m showing how Google Maps Mobile works in this mobile phone. Google Maps Mobile can be downloaded from www.google.com/gmm via your mobile phone internet browser. Mobile service provider: Maxis (Malaysia) via GPRS or 2.0G

Google Maps on Nokia N900

Posted by admin | Posted in Symbian | Posted on 28-01-2010

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the mobile site of Google Maps looks like a good solution until Google decides to release a native app for Maemo and the Nokia N900. Posted on thenokiablog.com

OpenSocial Tutorial – Part 1: Gadget Basics

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 13-09-2009

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Part 1 of 5 videos describing how to build your first OpenSocial application. Dan Holevoet gives a brief introduction about gadgets, and goes over how to add your first OpenSocial application in the Orkut sandbox. The entire tutorial/codelab: code.google.com

Content by Fun Joomla

Can I find my google gadget in the directory?

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 19-08-2009

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I want to see that my google gadget is in the directory. How can I do this?

Content by Book Store

Is the Nokia 5800 xpressmusic a male or female phone?

Posted by admin | Posted in Symbian | Posted on 08-05-2009

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(About the original Nokia 5800 xpressmusic in red)

Would anybody think the Nokia 5800 xpressmusic is a masculine or feminine or unisex phone? The original device does have a red strip on the sides and the interface is red. Just google ‘nokia 5800′ to see pixs.

Content by Book Store

Does anyone know where I can find instructions to remove and replace the faceplate on a sony ericsson w580i?

Posted by admin | Posted in Themes | Posted on 07-02-2009

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My dog chewed on my sony ericsson w580i and ruined the faceplate. I bought a new faceplate but im having trouble getting it on. does anyone know where i can find instructions on replacing it? i searched google and i can’t find anything.

Content by Angel Ponsel