Monday, May 30, 2011

Google Wallet and the new economy

New Google Wallet Will Face Stiff Competition

End of Cash? First blog in a series examining the pending doom of minted coins and printed banknotes

The links above are from Singularity Hub and Communities Dominate Brands, respectively.

So, what is Google Wallet, anyway? In uninformed layman's terms, your cellphone becomes your primary source of making payments for anything you purchase in a brick & mortar store. But as Singularity Hub points out, Google isn't the only company attempting this. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and the rest are all jockeying for position. Google just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and got the ball rolling.

So what can it do for me? I've seen the future, folks. And it's not as scary as you may think! I'll offer an extreme case scenario, which I've also mentioned in comments on both the above links. With your phone now acting as your source of payment, you have opened up a new world of possibilities. Many of us play online games now. Either via XBox, Playstation, Wii, or good, old fashioned browser based gaming sites. And we rack up points, rewards, virtual cash, or any other digital bits that have an agreed upon value in physical reality. I'm speculating that Google will eventually offer to keep track of that value for us in it's Wallet program. So what? Ah, then life happens!!

You need to get a loaf of bread and a quart of milk from the local corner grocer. Your total comes to $6. But you know you only have $2 in your bank account. BUT! You have 15,000 points from your game playing. You have 2500 credits from the local casino. You have 2500 in gold from WoW. And you have $L3000 from Second Life. Your phone becomes your currency exchange, and instantly calculates the value, and debits each account accordingly when you tap your phone. You've paid the $6 to the cashier just that easily, and go home to have lunch!

This is life changing, folks. Yes, it's not going to happen instantly. But it doesn't need to. Automation is slowly taking over our jobs. So we've been building up massive amounts of points in gaming in our own downtime. By the time that robot comes knocking at your own employer's door, the wallet system will have been established. That will give us the extra cushion to tide us over until our next jobs.

Virtual coupons. Loyalty card programs. And gaming points. The American dollar might be tanking, but that doesn't mean that we have to go down with the ship. You can buy Euros, gold certificates, or any number of viable globally recognized monies, and deposit them either physically or virtually in your bank. It all gets sorted out via the Wallet system.

As for me? I'm heading to SL after this post. I need a loaf of bread!!!! :-)