[clug] [OT] Google announces an electronic wallet

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Sat May 28 18:32:11 MDT 2011

"Google Unveils Wallet And Offers: An Open Platform For Mobile Payments"
MG Siegler, May 26, 2011


I think this has the potential to be a 'disruptive technology'.

Having read the Zetawire patent (link below), I think they may have a
workable secure e-Commerce system.
Done right, that can fundamentally change the nature of business and
transactions - like smartphones are redefining 'The Internet'.

With GOOG backing it, from the start it has 'scale' and credibility:
necessary conditions for uptake.

What's unstated is that part of what this is, is a 'secure Internet
Credit Card'. And like Credit Cards, there has to appear to the user
"One Universal System", even if the backends are many and varied...

Google can make that possible.
Unlike Microsoft's attempt, this will start cross-platform, without fear
of 'vendor lock-in' and downstream onerous license costs.

It's meant to run on PC's or smartphones or other dedicated devices.
The vision in the patent is an eye-opener - they reckon they can apply
their process to a very broad range of applications. One small part of
which is mentioned by 'techcrunch' as the new "Google Offers".
Which might kill Goupon's business model.

The system comes complete with 'digital receipts'.
The patent talks about "pending transactions" and "splitting bills" as
well. I thought (might be wrong) that 'pending' covers the time between
ordering an item and delivery/acceptance.
That might put a stop to e-Bay fraud.

Google acquired Zetawire last year (?) which owns the key patent - and
I'd guess running code!

Most of the patent is based around using a trusted 3rd party to mediate
transactions, with the mandatory "nothing shared but the Tx Id" for
mutual distrust :-)
BUT, they layout specific conditions that allow direct (user-user)
Although it seems an after-thought or an aside, this seems to me to
create a whole new way of interacting, even a workable "frictionless
micro-payments" system.

It's FOSS related because:
"Right off the bat, Tilenius (VP of Commerce) wanted to make it clear
that this would be an open platform.
She invited “payment networks, carriers, and banks to join us in
creating tomorrow’s shopping experience”.
And some of those partners are already on board. Citi, Mastercard,
FirstData, and Sprint are the initial partners."


"There will be APIs eventually.
And Google plans to work with partners to promote open standards.
They say they’ll keep it “as open as possible” as long as that doesn’t
sacrifice on security and user choice."

And the obligatory crack at APPL and MSFT:
 Neither of these companies can be accused of "Playing well with others".

But GOOG *does*, that's one of its strengths.
While it likes to keep internal algorithms, the source of its
competitive advantage, secret, it has shared some of the really
interesting ideas it's systems are based on (mapreduce, GFS,...).

What impresses me about GOOG not being your average computer/Internet
company is they'll do things not commercially driven, but really useful
to users:
'maps', 'scholar', 'youtube',
and Android...

While Google will benefit down the track from the Android platform, it's
kept it open enough to be really interesting - and to create a whole
competitive marketplace for products, derivative systems and 3rd party
businesses. The only income back to GOOG is 'derivative.

That's a very different and generous mindset - and one that I admire &


NFC == Near Field Communications.
The sort of wireless comms in those credit cards you 'tap'. Mastercard
Not 'bluetooth', 802.11 (wifi) nor

"Secured Electronic Transaction System"

[extract. I pull this things apart into semantic units for my notes so
they are easier to understand. Apologies in advance wrt clarity]

[0058]... For example,
 the configuration
 categories of
 digital objects (also referred to as `draggable objects`)
 such as
 digital forms of
 credit cards,
 debit cards,
 gift cards,
 membership cards,
 business cards,
 identification cards,
 photographs, etc.,
 as well as
 custom-defined types,
 as well as
 digital objects or
 not found in
 physical wallets
 such as
 digital videos,

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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