Google to launch Wallet in UK?


Google is reportedly preparing to launch its contactless mobile payment platform in the UK in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The rumours have been sparked by a report late last week by French newspaper Les Echos that the web giant was in talks with UK firms to extend its Near Field Communications (NFC) based Google Wallet into Europe via UK trials that are to take place in the first quarter of next year.

The rumoured talks with retailers, distributors and banks area expected to pave the way for smartphones running Google's Android mobile operating system and fitted with an NFC chip to authorise payments at the point of sale of establishments integrated with the payment technology.

This would allow Google, which originally launched its Wallet this May, to extend its reach beyond the US, where it has been open to the public since September, and capitalise on the huge numbers of visitors expected to descend on UK Olympic venues and London next summer.

UK consumers have already proved they have an appetite for mobile shopping and payments, with Barclaycard's ongoing contactless credit card roll out, Orange's UK wallet and increased levels of e-commerce smartphone demand.

Google gave its typical response to such stories. "I'm afraid we don't comment on speculation. We've nothing to add at the moment on Google Wallet," said Stephen Rosenthal, communications and public affairs manager at Google UK.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.