It is not directly a commentary on the value of near field communications, but Google’s introduction of a new version of the Google Wallet app, rolling out the week of Sept. 15, 2013, is part of Google’s overall approach to apps, which is to make them available on all platforms.
The latest addition makes Google Wallet usable by all Android phones (version 2.3 and higher), in the United States. That means there is no need for NFC capabilities on the devices.
The updated app allows users to easily send money on the go, store loyalty cards, save money through offers, and view all your Google Wallet activity, Google says.
Using the Google Wallet app, users can easily and securely send money on the go to any friend in the United States with an email address (ages 18+). It’s free to send money directly from your bank account or Google Wallet balance, and low fees apply when using a linked credit or debit card.
With the new Google Wallet app, users add cards by scanning barcodes or inputting the card number into the app. The next time you’re at the store, you can earn points for your loyalty program by scanning the app at checkout, said Peter Hazlehurst, Google Wallet director of product management.
In addition to loyalty cards, all offers from the Google Maps app, Google Search, Google+ or Google Offers are visible and redeemable in the Wallet app at checkout.
Google Wallet also can be used to to pay on Google Play, select mobile websites or a growing set of Android apps.
The new version is available on the Google Play Store.