What We Still Don't Know about 'Google Wallet'

In advance of Google's press conference this morning, we already know a great deal about Google's NFC payments initiative, which will apparently be called "Google Wallet." A leaked internal memo from The Container Store showed up online yesterday:

Google will launch a test of "contactless" payment through a mobile device--so customers will be able to just tap a special device and pay with their phone in stores at POS! And this Thursday, Google will announce all of the innovative retailers who will be participating in their test--and guess who is on that list? You got it right! We are! And how cool that Google thought of us, The Container Store!

Stay tuned for many more details regarding this test of Google Wallet and the participating markets. We won't start this program September 1st, but thought that we should all have the heads up on this neat opportunity now because we expect it will receive a lot of press in the upcoming weeks when Google makes its official media announcement about this initiative.

When: this summer

Where: apparently five cities initially . . . San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington D.C.

Partners: so far Sprint, Citigroup, MasterCard, Verifone and ViVOtech

Retailers: Container Store, Macy's, American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Subway (incomplete list) 

As I've said I'm sure there are more retailers/stores on the list of launch partners. It's not clear (to me) how many Android phones currently in the market are NFC compatible. The Sprint Nexus S clearly is; and the next-generation of Android phones now coming out are supposed to be. 

Google has more tricks up its sleeve than simply the announcement I would imagine. Accordingly I suspect we'll see offers tied in to help motivate people to use the system. 

Initially however it will be accessible to a relatively small group of people and there will probably be several months where Google and its partners are watching the consumer reaction and working through bugs and kinks. 

Simply because Google has built it doesn't mean that consumers will come; however this is sure to help accelerate the broader industry move toward mobile payments.