Google announced Wallet a few months ago and said it will launch this summer. It's September now, and there's no Google Wallet, but the latest rumors point to an imminent launch, later today. Google is said to be launching Wallet officially today, though the service is still quite limited in its potential audience.Google Wallet is a very promising technology and service. For starters, it will enable users to pay for things with their phones with only a gesture.
In the future, it could hold coupons and offers, IDs, membership cards, anything that a real wallet can, all part of the mobile app.
For now, TechCrunch has gotten word that Google Wallet is launching the service, in the US, and has notified partners that it will go live today.
"Google Wallet is launching September 19, 2011," a notification sent to partners read. "Google Wallet is a smart phone application that allows owners of the Sprint Nexus S Android phone to use their smart phone as a wallet. This application or app will transform the way clients pay."
The notification is aimed at educating partners about Wallet and how it works. That said, it remains to be seen what type of usage the payments system will get initially.
Google Wallet, for now, only works on one phone from one carrier, the third largest in the US. What's more, users must already have a Citi MasterCard with PayPass enabled. These limitations restrict the number of possible users quite a bit.
But Google Wallet is a long-term proposition, more phones with NFC will be available and it is very possible that more payments partners will get involved.
Google is not the only one trying to crack mobile payments, new companies as well as established players are all trying their hand at it. And Google hasn't had much success with its payments products before.
But it's got a strong list of partners this time and, if it can get the app to as many people as possible and enable Google Wallet in as many stores as possible, it may have a winner.