Google Wallet makes its debut

Google does a lot of impressive things, but the one annoyance for us Brits is its insistance on rolling out so many key developments in the US first, the rest of the world much, much later. The likes of Google Movies and Google's new music service being recent additions to that list. Now you can add in Google Wallet. Although with everyone rushing to take a piece of the contactless payments market, we suspect this one will be here soon enough.

According to Crave, the new service follows the same route as other similar services, using NFC technology to allow you to buy things via the swipe of a phone. Where this one differs is the launch of a sister service called Google Offers, which lets you make savings when you go shopping by downloading coupons. Certainly a good way of enticing you in. Those offers apparently look like coupons and feature a barcode. Open up Wallet from your phone and you can open those coupons from inside the app. Simple.

At least in theory. You'll need the right hardware to make it so simple though. For a start, you will have to be the owner of a phone with an NFC chip inside, specifically the Nexus S 4G on the US Sprint network. That's likely to be expanded soon, which is perhaps when we'll get a look in.

Worried about security? That's covered too. Apparently Google Wallet phones will use the same security chip as the Nexus S smartphone, with the chip self-destructing if the phone is tampered with. Yes, very '60s sci-fi. In addition, when you swipe your phone, your mobile communicates with the bank to authenticate the money transfer. NFC is also turned off while the phone is locked for added protection.

The service isn't even going out through the whole of the US initially – just San Francisco, Portland and New York. Once any issues are ironed out there, the service should expand geographically. Next year we will hopefully see it here, just as long as the US public embraces Google Wallet in its infancy.

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