I have to admit that there are technologies that when I see them do amaze me a bit. Sometimes because there’s a sense of magic that comes with it. Other times, its simply because its something that I’ve wanted in my hands for sometime and can easily see it as an every day part of life. That’s how I felt about Google Wallet, and it was Engadget’s recent contest to win a Samsung Galaxy S 4G that made me ask the question, "could I really get down with using a phone as a wallet?"
OK, that’s a nearly stupid question. I could get along with my mobile as a wallet, and would prefer to do so. I think that it was during my time in the DC area where I relized that carrying what I do in a wallet needed to undergo a serious revolution. It was there that I was exposed to teh MetroPass and the (then) wonder of simply tapping a terminal and then the fare being deducted. Yes, I had experience with swipe-based mass transit passes, but that tap was so much faster, so much simpler – and much more embarassing when you didn’t have the necessary funds. It was then I wondered why my Sony Ericsson T616 didn’t have something that simple.
I could do it. But, then the question becomes of whether I’d like to have Google (amongst others) privy to my purchase decisions. Could I deal with Google having a much better handle of things than my bank, the IRS, or my grocery store? Do I trust them enough to give their technology a shot at being my wallet (we didn’t ask that of the guy who shredded his cow to make the wallet that makes our pockets important did we)?
Then the question becomes of "where can I use it?" Right now, the Google Wallet essentially works much more like a credit card than a debit card. I’ve not used a credit card in almost half a decade (debit card and cash only – aka personal fiscal responsibility) and so I’d have to consider that such a technology is going to want to put me back into that mode of use. I’m sure that I’d feel better if it were tied to my checking account, maybe with some kind of credit protection built-in (maybe even one that piggy backs on PayPal in addition to whatever service my bank offers). So that limits me a bit. Where I can use it are in those places that have a reader (given how much time I spend between gas stations when on the road, that’s actually not a bad thing) and a Sprint signal (eh…).
It would be fun to play with for a while. I think that the ideal solution for me though would be to have the NFC in the mobile, but the functionality unlocked both my my logging into a (internet-connected) system and authenticated by my SIM. This way, I’m getting that wallet benefit, but am using both the service provider and the financial instution as a securty layer of sorts. Uhmmm… maybe getting that N8 wasn’t a great idea after all. The C7/Astound does have NFC and could have been a part of this trial right?