Google buys Zetawire to help push Google branded NFC payment service?

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Little is known about Zetawire, a company that Google just purchased according to The 451 Group. They’re Canadian, based out of Toronto, trademarked a yet to launch product called “Walleto”, and have a patent for creating a “mobile banking, advertising, identity management, credit card and mobile coupon transaction processing” solution or in other words: Google is trying to become Visa.

With many in the technology looking forward to NFC (near field communication) hitting the market in 2011, it’s probably not going to take off until 2012 or even 2013. We’ll see a wide range of devices that support the technology, but like the Nexus S, the first implementations are going to be rather limited. Right now you can only read NFC tags, but can’t write to them. That’s due to change with a software update, but no timeline has been given. With NFC enabled Android devices Google may have ambitions of becoming their own payment processor, totally sidestepping operators and traditional plastic card issuers. Google could also go about this another way and simply offer their services straight to operators who then rebadge it and sell it directly to consumers.

With Google Maps and Google Navigation, Google single handedly killed the personal navigation space. Will they do the same to Visa, Matercard, and American Express? It’s not going to be easy, and we wish we had more information, but right now we just have to wait and see. America’s three largest operators recently launched Isis, their attempt at making mobile payments mainstream, but that’s yet to materialize into a usable product so it’s rather difficult to gague what consumer interest is going to be like.

Make no mistake, Google now knows where you are, what you search for, and how you use email. If they start knowing what you spend your money on … prepare for total world domination. That’s the next step in their “Don’t Be Evil” plan.

[Via: TechCrunch]

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