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Google Portables The Almighty Buck

The Saga of the Virtual Wallet 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the holding-the-purse-strings dept.
theodp writes "Fourteen years ago, Microsoft Wallet promised 'secure, convenient purchasing on the Internet.' That was then, this is now. TechCrunch reports that the first commercial for Google Wallet has been unveiled, and it stars Seinfeld's George Costanza and his overstuffed, exploding wallet. At launch (TBD), Google Wallet will allow you to use a Google Nexus S 4G (from Sprint) to tap-to-pay using Citi MasterCard cards or the Google Prepaid Card. Not to be outdone, PayPal offered a video sneak peek of its upcoming virtual wallet offering, which is promised to be more than 'just shoving a credit card on a phone.' In May, PayPal sued Google over electronic wallet technology, alleging that the search giant hired two of its former execs to obtain trade secrets for a mobile transactions project."
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The Saga of the Virtual Wallet

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  • In The Pick [youtube.com], a Calvin Klein exec steals Kramer's idea for a 'Beach' perfume and comes out with one called 'Ocean' (script [seinology.com]).
    KRAMER: You smell like the beach. What's the name of that perfume? you're wearing.
    TIA: It's Ocean by CALVIN KLEIN.
    KRAMER: CALVIN KLEIN? No, no. That's my idea. They, they stole my idea. Y' see I had the idea of a cologne that makes you smell like you just came from the beach.
    JERRY: I know look at this [shows ad]
    KRAMER: Whooo, ... That's you! What is going on here? The gyp(?) he laughs a

  • The difficulty is going to be getting software for POS systems that accept money from my virtual wallet. It wouldn't be too hard if they also had an Android device, but some niceties for merchants would be missing from that solution.

    I use this software [android.com] as my virtual wallet. It works pretty well. I've sent money to friends and gotten it back. It's slightly more cumbersome than handing them cash in some ways, and slightly less in others. But it does work already. I don't need Google or PayPal taking their cut

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, the problem with bitcoin is the 21 million bitcoin limit coupled with the high rate of inflation now (50 new bitcoins every 10 min). They should've used a lower rate that'd remain constant indefinitely. Your 21 million bitcoin limit attracts all these gold bug style speculators who make the currency unavailable and/or screw with the prices.

    • by kent_eh (543303)

      The difficulty is going to be getting software for POS systems that accept money from my virtual wallet.

      There are still a lot of retailers whose POS won't accept chip-n-pin, 3 or 4 years after it was introduced here.

      Also, I don't think anyone will be in a hurry to jump on this bandwagon if there are multiple, non-compatible "standards" out there.
      And there's this too:

      I don't need Google or PayPal taking their cut.

  • by bussdriver (620565) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:15PM (#37434610)

    Why not restrict patents to only humans? Then we don't have corps screwing over their inventors and instead pay to keep them... which would encourage inventors instead of just the greedy CEO wannabees.

    Why shouldn't another company be able to hire employees from the competition to gain experience? There is NO REASON for anybody to be loyal to their employer today so the corps move to take away even more of our liberties. The argument shouldn't be about restricting liberties and harming a former employee's career just to protect themselves because they mistreat them; it shouldn't even be a question. If they want to leave and help the competition that is their RIGHT, if you don't want them to screw you, STOP MOTIVATING THEM!

    Its somewhat like feudalism vs democracy played out on a different board game.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      While I initially like the idea, restricting patents to humans would just make things that much worse .

      Yes it would be better if the inventor in question was the on who received the patent. But in all likelihood what we would see is some new corporate assets position created. In which all patents are filed in the name of said CEO wannabee. Which just creates one more stupid high paying job likely held by an imbecile who is now in control of some significant bargaining chips. Should they decide one day that

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      suppose the guy with the patent for some new whiz medicine producing tool just goes bonkers?

      • by sjames (1099)

        Then his employer changes his job description to "act crazy" and keeps paying him so they can continue to enjoy the exclusive use of the patent. Win-win.

      • by izomiac (815208)
        Then we all sit and contemplate why we let patents last for as long as they do. Besides, it seems like corporate insanity is more common anyway.
    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      While I do like that idea, its has some problems.

      There are thousands of patents which cover (say) Android. So this means that either google has to employ a thousand people who thought about the same idea, or employ one person who has all of them. Then if that person goes to Apple - Apple will now own Android. Smaller companies will be destroyed in this manner because now instead of paying lawyers, you can just buy employees. A small startup tries something? Buy one of the employees and crush them.

      Secondly,

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Co-ownership is the only true way to encourage competition and growth in industry. Ideas can not be owned solely by the people that have them nor solely by those who implement and capitalize on them. If I come up with a product, you pay me, make it, sell it, and 4 years later I move to another company nothing should stop you from making and developing that product further and likewise nothing should stop me from building on that idea with another company to compete with you.

        The concept of a company owning

      • STOCK OPTIONS. Supposedly they pay the board and CEO in stock to try to get them to think of the company... CEOs run corps into the ground all the time... look at HP.... I'd rather the inventors have some of that power-- they need not remain employees... they have a stake in the company. Sure, they can help run it in the ground - what is new with that??

        Greedy business people will always find a way to make more money--- if you regulate and ban too much they just become organized crime. If you do too lit

    • by dmomo (256005)

      Good idea. But what if you have a group of inventors? Can a patent be shared? Can a patent be sold or transfered? If so, a corporation will always find a way to own it. Maybe the "stock holders" own it? Maybe the board of directors all share a slice? It's a good idea, but really needs to be thought out carefully.

      • Adding the amount of time and money that was required to develop a patent should be added as an qualifying factor in the patent approval process. If a company spent millions of dollars creating a new medicine the length of the patent protection should at least be long enough to recover those expenses. The patents awarded in the software environment should require the patent owner to actually implement the patent themselves instead of just using the patent to shakedown those who use the patented idea. Shutti
        • If a company spent millions of dollars creating a new medicine the length of the patent protection should at least be long enough to recover those expenses.

          Why? What if the invention is a flop, and is simply never successful enough to recoup the expense of developing it? (E.g. Polavision)

          Patents exist to serve the public interest in having useful, novel, nonobvious inventions invented, disclosed, and brought to market, when this otherwise wouldn't happen, and in the public domain where they are the most useful.

          Patents have never been a promise to the inventor that he will recover his expenses, or turn a profit. All that patents do is act like a funnel, allowin

          • "What if the invention is a flop" In this case the entire patent process is inconsequential and not needed. Who would try to patent a proven failure? The businesses also assume an amount of risk when they fund R&D efforts. Profitable results from R&D are never guaranteed. "Patents have never been a promise to the inventor that he will recover his expenses, or turn a profit" Patents provide the incentive to continue funding R&D. If you spend a lot of money to develop a profitable technology know
            • In this case the entire patent process is inconsequential and not needed. Who would try to patent a proven failure?

              Very few people, but that's because usually you try to get a patent before the invention is known to be a success or a failure. In Europe, IIRC, you cannot file for a patent once information about the invention has been made public, e.g. by selling them, which is necessary to find out if it's going to be a failure. In the US, you can file as late as one year after the invention has been made public. That's a lot better, but it still may not be enough time; some inventions take longer to become successful.

              So

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Good idea. But what if you have a group of inventors? Can a patent be shared? Can a patent be sold or transfered? If so, a corporation will always find a way to own it. Maybe the "stock holders" own it? Maybe the board of directors all share a slice? It's a good idea, but really needs to be thought out carefully.

        Patents are owned by the inventors - the actual people who did actual work on the item in the patent. That patent is "owned" by the inventor in perpetuity. You can put it on your resume that you hav

  • CyberCash (Score:4, Informative)

    by nsuccorso (41169) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:15PM (#37434612)

    Fourteen years ago, Microsoft wholesale copied an existing competitor's product to announce Microsoft Wallet. That competitor was CyberCash, which was the first to provide a secure payment system on the Internet. I remember watching a Microsoft promotional video where actually showed pages from CyberCash's web site and presented them as their own, being careful to scroll down enough before the cameras rolled to cut off the CyberCash banners. I learned an important lesson about Microsoft that day.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by davester666 (731373)

      Yes, that sounds like the very first instance where Microsoft copied a competitors product and then presented it to the world as if it were something they 'invented'.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Well, to be fair, they did steal the idea of stealing other people's ideas from Apple. They couldn't just do it immediately or people would notice.

        • Or to actually be fair you could realize that Apple asked for and was given permission, thereby making your point invalid.
          • by hedwards (940851)

            Which explains why they were later sued by Xerox? They weren't granted permission to steal the ideas, they were granted permission to visit the facility and ultimately Apple sued MS for doing what Apple had already done.

            Just because it's Apple doesn't mean the theft was any less theft.

            • Xerox sued because Apple made money off an idea they had thought to be worthless, however they had given permission making their suit untenable.
        • by ge7 (2194648)
          It's nice how this same story has discussions about how patents should be invalided and how Microsoft is stealing others ideas. Classic slashdot.
      • Or the first company to do so.
      • by joaommp (685612)

        AFAIK Microsoft didn't copy the product and presented as their own. They were rebranding it from Cybercash, Cybercash was making money from Microsoft Wallet.

    • I learned an important lesson about Microsoft that day.

      What, that they're still up to the same old tricks that made them the multi-bazillion-dollar company that they are today?

    • Re:CyberCash (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Owyn (934) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @01:09PM (#37434866) Homepage

      Someone remembers that! I worked at CyberCash. I was the primary author of the merchant server component (CashRegister, MCK, SMPS, whatever it was called) for a couple of years, before it got handed off to another team and I was assigned to the SET project (does anybody remember that piece of crap?). It was the first C++ app I ever wrote, and I was a college student, so I literally had the Stephens books on Unix and TCP/IP open on my desk as I worked 14 hours a day to complete the first version. They hired me full time after that and I eventually rewrote most of it to not suck as much. There was ONE version that leaked no memory, all the others were pretty much crap. Sorry about that to anyone who was using it at the time. :) It was all designed before SSL was implemented in browsers so it used real RSA crypto which was fun to work on (those parts were written by graybeards, I just did all the integration). All that stuff probably should have just been a web service / API but at the time nobody really knew how to build web apps and there was no other way to do end-to-end security, so it was all written from scratch. It was plain C++. STL was flaky and Boost didn't exist. I basically wrote a web server and a database and an asynch message processing daemon all rolled in one app that sat between the consumer wallet and the central cybercash gateway which unwrapped everything and talked to the "real" bank. Fun project!

      • Re:CyberCash (Score:4, Informative)

        by Owyn (934) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @01:30PM (#37434976) Homepage

        Also, IIRC the microsoft wallet WAS the cybercash wallet. I didn't work on the wallet so my memory is fuzzy, but it wasn't a wholesale theft or anything, just a re-branding. We had some kind of a partnership thing going on. Cybercash was making money on the back end merchant banking side of things so having a different wallet or even a different merchant server would have been fine with us.

  • by slashqwerty (1099091) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:15PM (#37434614)
    What sort of trade secrets are involved in transferring currency from person A to person B? The only thing holding this back is the chicken and egg problem of deploying a standard that is widely adopted.
    • Re:Trade Secrets (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vlm (69642) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:34PM (#37434724)

      What sort of trade secrets are involved in transferring currency from person A to person B?

      Usually a lot of "dazzle them with BS" snake-oil crypto this is carefully designed to be completely wide open to cops and advertisers.

      The only thing holding this back is the chicken and egg problem of deploying a standard that is widely adopted

      Standardization probs, and that tiny little problem of a reason why. Its not the kind of thing that anyone desires. There are some wanna-be middlemen who are hoping to intermediate themselves, everyone else is like "who cares". Whats in it for me is ... um... uh... nothing, and whats in it for wanna-be intermediaries is make money fast.

      • by brunes69 (86786)

        Er, a lot of people desire this, myself included.

        If I could use NFC at every store that takes Paypass, and Google Wallet was available here, then I would be the first to sign up. One less piece of crap in my wallet.

        • by tftp (111690)

          A plastic card weighs about 2 grams. It doesn't depend on power or on the wireless network; it is far more reliable than the phone; it can't be remotely hacked into. You may want the phone payment as a novelty, but in practical terms this is a solution without a problem.

          It may even be that most people need as difficult a payment system as it can be - so that they start thinking about what they are paying for. Easy payments often lead to big debts. All these "wallets" simply facilitate impulse buying; the

          • by sjames (1099)

            The plastic card is vulnerable to the first crooked cashier you encounter. A smart card might be better (a decent one, not the chip and PIN crap that can be defeated with a bit of sticky tape).

            • by tftp (111690)

              The plastic card is vulnerable to the first crooked cashier you encounter.

              Not if you scan the card yourself or watch it done. Only at a restaurant the waiter is likely to walk away with the card; but nothing stops you from following her with the card in hand.

              A smart card might be better

              Yes; US banks don't use them, though, for one simple reason: losses from card fraud are smaller than the cost of smart cards.

              The problem with "personal wallets" is that once you are in full control of your cash in th

              • by sjames (1099)

                Not if you scan the card yourself or watch it done.

                You said it yourself, a skimmer attached to the card reader. You could slide the card yourself and still be compromized.

                Only at a restaurant the waiter is likely to walk away with the card; but nothing stops you from following her with the card in hand.

                Except the "employees only" sign.

                Yes; US banks don't use them, though, for one simple reason: losses from card fraud are smaller than the cost of smart cards.

                The BANKs loss is smaller because they push it off onto the merchants who in turn raise prices to make the consumer pay for it (even the ones who pay cash). Internalize that cost to them and they'll be falling all over themselves to implement a more secure system.

        • by ibennetch (521581)

          If I could use NFC at every store that takes Paypass, and Google Wallet was available here, then I would be the first to sign up. One less piece of crap in my wallet.

          See, that's the part I don't get. Even if you plan on using NFC in your phone, I would imagine you'd still have to carry cash or a credit card just in case. What if the reader is down, what if you need gas and they don't have a reader, etc. There are some places around here that take Paypass, but more that don't -- especially restaurants, grocery stores...all the place I tend to spend more than a few dollars at once. Even though I pay with credit whenever I can, it's still handy to have some cash on hand. O

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I'd personally be more comfortable with an app that could be scanned by a barcode reader the way that my library card can. Makes it a lot harder for somebody to skim my information without my knowing about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Paypal sues Google, but is very happy to use Google's YouTube to exhibit it's "technology" :-)

  • ...Apple appears to be on track to dominate commerce that involves intangible goods, (read ebooks, songs and the like because of its restrictions), while Google and others might dominate the tangible goods 'spectrum'.

    Here is the trouble: The growth of camps with Visa tussling it out with MasterCard and the rest.

    What the ordinary folk would like to see is a comparison of all these services in tabular form preferably, with a focus on the entire world, not on the USA alone as some reviews have tended to do.

    • by maxume (22995)

      Visa and Mastercard are barely different companies, I doubt they will bother to fight about anything.

      • by sjames (1099)

        They will fight though, just enough to keep the illusion going and to create an excuse not standardizing on something that might eventually cut them out of the loop.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:28PM (#37434688) Homepage Journal

    I'm not going to store my financials on a phone that doesn't have an encrypted data store. These guys [github.com] are making great progress towards it, but Google needs to 'send beer' and take the patches.

    • by izomiac (815208)
      There are two open issues in android regarding that. 11211 [google.com] and 3748 [google.com]. Both are flagged medium priority and one & two years old respectively. But seriously, phones hold tons of private information and are frequently lost. Manual encryption of sensitive data is never going to work, with app developers strewing it everywhere (e.g. thumbnails), so OTFE of /data and /mnt/sdcard is the best solution.

      Sadly, I suspect someone thinks users prefer convenience over security, so it'll likely be a while befo
      • Sadly, I suspect someone thinks users prefer convenience over security

        If only computing devices had a way to indicate preferences! :)

        Practically, I suspect this will get pushed upstream to CyanogenMod pretty soon. There's enough hardware support in 2.6.38 for hardware acceleration (low power) AES on OMAP which makes it a reasonable thing to do.

        I can see many organizations opting for CM when this happens.

    • by swillden (191260)

      I'm not going to store my financials on a phone that doesn't have an encrypted data store. These guys [github.com] are making great progress towards it, but Google needs to 'send beer' and take the patches.

      The Google Wallet doesn't store your financial data on the phone, it stores it in a special security chip embedded in the phone. The data does pass through your phone when you first enter it, but is not stored in the handset main memory.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      It is not necessary, at least not in the way you think it is. Japanese phones have had this feature for years, and it works by having the same kind of chip as you find in touch payment cards in the phone. Really all the phone itself does is provide a UI.

      Well, Japanese phones go a bit further by allowing payments to be added to the monthly phone bill rather than having to have a separate account like it appears this does.

  • I suppose that people with too much money in their lives will find this idea intriguing. But since it's not going to get your loyalty cards out of your wallet, it's not going to help with the kind of overstuffed wallet problem that the rest of us have... you know, the people who do their own shopping.

    • by entrigant (233266)

      Store your loyalty cards bar codes on the phone. A couple of screen taps and the phone can reproduce it for the scanner.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Not on my phone. I have a flip-open LG crapfone. It might be transflective, but it's not high-res enough to make bar codes.

        • by entrigant (233266)

          Good point. I was working inside the implied scope of the article relating to the subset of phones that'd work with this wallet tech. My assumption is NFC equipped phones.

    • Trythis [mycardstar.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward

    then try to sell me a "virtual wallet"

    (for what a banking license is worth nowadays, it is still better than nothing)

  • by markdavis (642305) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @01:09PM (#37434870)

    Yeah, because it is sooooo much more difficult to take out a card and swipe it than it is to take my phone out of its case, unlock it, find and launch the app, and then "tap" it on some reader thing.

    Just what I want to do after giving Google access to my contacts, my phone calls, my applications, my location, and all my searching.... give them access to my purchasing and purchasing records.

    No thanks.

    And no, I don't have a Google checkout account (one reason I use Amazon App Market) and don't use Gmail (I have a Gmail account ONLY because it is mandated for Android, I don't actually use it), and don't use Google talk or chat or Picasa or Plus. For all of these, I intentionally use different services/carriers.

    I am amazed that most people see no danger in turning over more and more and more and more personal information to a single, giant company. Especially one that makes all its money not on we as "customers" but from other companies. And one that doesn't even have a way to contact a human when something goes horribly wrong.

    • by vlm (69642)

      I am amazed that most people see no danger in turning over more and more and more and more personal information to a single, giant company. Especially one that makes all its money not on we as "customers" but from other companies. And one that doesn't even have a way to contact a human when something goes horribly wrong.

      You make them sound as bad as a government, yet they are much more restrained.

      • by murdocj (543661)

        Yeah. I mean, it's not like Google would send out trucks on every street scooping up all the wireless traffic they could. Only a government would do that.

    • I want a common taxonomy of goods, and I want to be able automatically split my receipts and bills by categories. Say, I went to a Fred Meyer and bought some groceries, and a pair of socks. I want to have, in standardized electronic form, the information about how much I spent on groceries (with further breakdown between e.g. dairy, vegetables, ice cream and so on) and socks. I want to have info on how much I paid for the socks. I want to have the info how much I paid in sales tax. Same with any other store

    • Yeah, because it is sooooo much more difficult to take out a card and swipe it than it is to take my phone out of its case, unlock it, find and launch the app, and then "tap" it on some reader thing.

      I would totally go for such a thing if it worked like a disposable credit card number. [wikimedia.org] Those significantly increase my privacy by preventing merchants from using a service to cross-reference my purchases based on my CC#.

      Of course Google would love to use their privileged access to become the only company capable of providing such a cross-referencing service, so the idea is moot in this context. Doesn't mean someone else couldn't do it better though.

      • by swillden (191260)

        Of course Google would love to use their privileged access to become the only company capable of providing such a cross-referencing service, so the idea is moot in this context.

        You think? I don't. That would be a radical change in approach for Google.

        Now, Google would offer merchants the ability to advertise through Google, with Google exploiting knowledge of where you shop and what you buy to improve ad targeting, but I can't see Google selling the information directly.

        • Its only difference of degree, not kind, between outright selling a list of who bought item X and selling ads that are only displayed to people to purchased item X.

          • by swillden (191260)

            Its only difference of degree, not kind, between outright selling a list of who bought item X and selling ads that are only displayed to people to purchased item X.

            I disagree.

            If the information itself is divulged, there is no limit to the damage that can be done, and once transferred the information can't be taken back.

            If Google keeps and uses the information in-house, the uses will only be those that Google makes, and at least under Google's present policies, customers will have the ability to see exactly what Google tracks about them and to request that it be deleted.

            So, the difference is between whether or not you can trust one party (Google) to honor their p

            • You don't understand. Displaying an advert with a custom "sale" that the user then avails themselves of is enough to transfer that information to the company that purchased the ad. For example, think of an advertisement for a free candy bar targeted only at mormons who have also bought condoms. Ever candy bar mailed out will go to a person who isn't following their church's doctrine.

              • by swillden (191260)

                You don't understand. Displaying an advert with a custom "sale" that the user then avails themselves of is enough to transfer that information to the company that purchased the ad.

                AFAIK, Google doesn't target ads that way. The advertiser doesn't get to decide what demographics see their ad; rather the ad is displayed to everyone Google's algorithms think are likely to click on it. This is actually a feature that Google touts to advertisers.

                For example, think of an advertisement for a free candy bar targeted only at mormons who have also bought condoms. Ever candy bar mailed out will go to a person who isn't following their church's doctrine.

                Aside: Mormon doctrine does not oppose the use of condoms or other birth control devices. Members are encouraged to have all of the children they can support, where "support" means not just financial support but all form of love, emotional suppo

    • I use this alternative payment method which is untraceable it's called "Cash", this seems to be an alternative where everyone can trace me and all my transactions ...

      Give me an "eWallet" that I can fill with cash and spend anonymously and you have something I will use ... ...I will give cash to people who I don't want to "do business" formally with, I don't want to be hounded by them for evermore afterwards (Charities are the prime example)

      • by markdavis (642305)

        +1

        Too bad that cash will eventually be outlawed. Or if not outlawed, marginalized so badly as to be just as bad. (Serial numbers will be scanned at every point and traced back to a bank withdrawal and combined with mandatory ID checks).

        It will be done in the name of "safety".

  • Did you know you can't buy porn, firearms, or firearms-related products with PayPal? It's all spelled out in the TOS and I've been waiting for someone to come along and knock PayPal off their high and mighty pedestal.
    Maybe Google's the one?
  • It should support BitCoin 'cause BitCoin is like, you know, cool.
    • by bjourne (1034822)
      Bitcoin is a distributed system that allows individuals to transfer currency without the involvement of a central server. As such there is absolutely no need for any middle men to take a slice of each transaction in fees. Since there is no profit to be made, the idea is dead in the water.
  • Government (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcelrath (8027) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @02:09PM (#37435122) Homepage

    Last I checked, issuing currency to enable commerce was a responsibility of the government. The US government has been utterly failing to create electronic currency for about 30 years now, preferring to let insurance companies and usurers create a ridiculously insecure, non-interoperable systems, all the while dragging down the economy with transaction fees, so they can get campaign contributions from them.

    This is the responsibility of the government. Give us electronic currency already!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I though private enterprise was the solution to all our problems?

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      The US government has an electronic currency: US Dollars. Most dollars exist as simply numbers in a database somewhere in a bank, and many transactions involve only the transfer of electronic information (like account / routing numbers or credit card numbers). Whether you're talking point-of-sale or online, all transactions go through a bunch of middlemen, each of whom take a fee for their services.

      All that these efforts to create a 'virtual wallet' do is change the list of middlemen involved to include whi

      • by mcelrath (8027)

        And that's why big shifts in monetary technology must be accompanied by a decree that it will be used (and only a government could do that). The US government doesn't seem to understand that. Look at the fiasco with the dollar coin. All they had to do there was require that all vendors give the dollar coin as change, or remove the dollar bill from circulation. Instead they tried the experiment of minting a fuck-ton of coins, hoping they would be used. *facepalm*

    • Last I checked, issuing currency to enable commerce was a responsibility of the government. The US government has been utterly failing to create electronic currency for about 30 years now, preferring to let insurance companies and usurers create a ridiculously insecure, non-interoperable systems, all the while dragging down the economy with transaction fees, so they can get campaign contributions from them.

      This is the responsibility of the government. Give us electronic currency already!

      ... they do provide a currency, the USD, and a standard way of sending it from institution to institution, ACH. Moving money around more rapidly than that does not require a new currency or the government.

      Duh.

    • by rwv (1636355)

      US government has been utterly failing to create electronic currency

      I thought the governments role for regulating currency was limited to ensuring interstate commerce can occur without individual states introducing their own money systems. As long as companies developing electronic currency tie it into the federal currency system (i.e. printed greenbacks) there shouldn't be issues.

      Also, credit card companies tend to have insurance for when electronic theft (i.e. identity theft) occurs. I don't think you'd want the government handling that sort of thing. Since electroni

  • I clicked through google's material on how it's supposed to work. I'm left with zero interest in the idea.

    Here are some of the problems with the way things presently work:

    • 1. I have too many cards to carry around in my wallet: a credit card, driver's license, health insurance cards, ...
    • 2. It's annoying having to carry coins around.
    • 3. If you use a debit card or ATM card, banks have exploitative practices designed to maximize how many fees you pay them.
    • 4. If you use a debit card or ATM card, you aren't pro
  • Yeah, that's what we need: PayPal and Microsoft to hold a global Internet banking cartel. The way the Microsoft/Apple duopoly served us so well for all these years.

  • What I want more than a digital wallet is an app on my phone that unlocks and starts my car, instead of using my physical keys. My keys already have a remote un/lock and alarm dis/arm button, and I could get a remote starter installed on them too. But I want my phone to do it, and to do it over at least WiFi if not 3G/4G.

    Yes, the wireless control is a security risk, but so are physical keys. And so is the remote un/lock dis/arm on them. I want to get the benefit of access from the security, as long as I'm g

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "What I want more than a digital wallet is an app on my phone that unlocks and starts my car, instead of using my physical keys. " then stop being cheap and buy that. Several car alarm systems out there already do this. Viper has one that will do the remote start as well.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        And the Android network app that I said is what I'm really interested in is...?

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          "is an app on my phone that unlocks and starts my car, instead of using my physical keys."

          or did you forget what you said?

          DUH.

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            I asked for an Android app that remote unlocks/starts with a car device like I can already do with my physical keys, and you told me that the car device I mentioned exists.

            I asked for the Android app again, and you quoted to me the definition of what I asked for.

            You are a complete moron.

            In closing: Fuck you, asshole.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @04:15PM (#37435758) Homepage

    on the palm pilot in 2000. I had an app that would let me beam money to other users and store registers.

    Nobody used it as paypal back then wanted obscene fees. Today they want utterly obscene fees. Thus no stores will adopt it and it's stillborn already.

  • "It works just like regular money, but it's, uh . . . fun."

  • by SoftwareArtist (1472499) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @06:07PM (#37436392)
    Can someone explain to me what advantage this is supposed to have over a credit card? What problem are they trying to solve?
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      With Credit Cards they only charge you for the credit card transaction.

      This way they can charge for the wallet transaction, and the credit card.

  • Digital computers had micro transactions long long ago. They were a cool idea. You could do micro-transactions like 1/1000th of a cent. Might seem useless but the idea would actually work for things like workable paywalls for newspapers and magazines. You could be paying like half a cent per page and not really caring how many pages you click on. But it would quickly add up for the site getting paid. Or online gaming. You could even charge by the bullet. If they had gotten some traction I suspect the web wo
  • Ive been to several conferences where companies are rolling out this phone as a payment platforms.. Its a scam designed to get gulible journalists interested and either boost company exposure, dupe investors into buying shares or prove that X manager is being "innovative". Some are literally RFID credit card sim cards sticky taped onto the back of a mobile I kid you not. The reality is that everyone has a physical wallet/purse and that isnt going away any time soon. Also there are many things in that wallet
  • I already have a single card in my wallet that is a NFC payment card AND a credit card (and an ATM card, if I want to get cash). NFC transactions are totally free and the system is accepted by tens of thousands of merchants, from electronic super stores to noodle bars to train stations. It's a passive NFC card, so it never runs out of power.
    Why are Google reinventing last decade's technology, badly? Why would I pay for a phone to do this, when the card is free?

  • A virtual wallet to go along with my virtual retirement funds!
  • They couldn't do any better than a character from an un-funny series that ended 13 years ago? If anything this brilliant marketing fail makes me not want to use the Google wallet.

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