Update: Google Wallet another sign that NFC is close
In another sign of the coming domination of NFC (Near Field Communications), Google has teamed up with MasterCard and others to launch Google Wallet - an NFC-based payment system.
The announcement is hardly unexpected, after Google touted NFC as the next big thing at its I/O developers conference and Visa launched its own 'next-gen' NFC payment system, both earlier this month, while Apple is rumoured to be introducing the system to its stores and iOS.
NFC uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to communicate between devices, so there is no need for a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
Google's Wallet website said the app has been designed for an "open commerce ecosystem".
"It will eventually hold many if not all of the cards you keep in your leather wallet today. And because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will be able to do more than a regular wallet ever could, like storing thousands of payment cards and Google Offers but without the bulk. Eventually your loyalty cards, gift cards, receipts, boarding passes, tickets, even your keys will be seamlessly synced to your Google Wallet. And every offer and loyalty point will be redeemed automatically with a single tap via NFC."
While Google Wallet is currently only available in the US, it's a sign of things to come with NFC and could well be on its way to New Zealand in the next 12-24 months.
Update: Google has released this video of the announcement. If you want to learn more about the technlogy, it's worth a watch.