Google Wallet was unveiled yesterday by the search giant and could well be the watershed moment which marks the beginning of the end for standalone plastic cards and many other things in our pockets that contain our identity, our financial footprint, our loyalty schemes and so many other things that define who we are.
(1) At the moment, Google Wallet is an Android app that converts a smartphone into a virtual wallet and will initially store virtual versions of existing plastic cards that can be accessed using near field communication or NFC.
(2) Google Wallet is only available on the Google Nexus S 4G on Sprint but other mobile phone operators, manufacturers and other platforms will, in the long run, support the technology as well. Google Wallet, like any other Google applications, will come to Apple iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry OS and Symbian as and when they start adopting NFC technology.
(3) For the foreseeable future, Google Wallet will only work in the US and with MasterCard's PayPass transaction system. Eventually, Google will open the system to other providers as well and will possibly tie it with Google Checkout to provide an end-to-end chain.
(4) In conjunction with Mastercard, Google is also providing a nifty virtual card service called Google Prepaid Card, which can be funded using any traditional plastic card. Unlike most other Prepaid cards, there's no fee associated with loading it with money which means that it works as a buffer.
(5) Google has also tied Google Wallet with Offers which is a direct rival to Groupon and other deals websites. Because Google has built Offers from the ground-up to support Location Based Services (LBS), the company will be the only one offering a truly integrated e-commerce ecosystem.