Businessweek is reporting that Google is considering building a payment and advertising service that would let users buy milk and bread by tapping or waving their mobile phones against a register at checkout, two people familiar with the plans say. The service may make its debut this year, say the two, who requested anonymity because the plans haven’t been announced. It is based on near-field communication technology, which can beam and receive information wirelessly from 4 inches away.
. . . A single NFC chip on a mobile phone would hold a consumer’s financial account information, gift cards, store loyalty cards, and coupon subscriptions, say the people familiar with Google’s plans. Users may also be able to make online purchases from their phones. By scanning a movie poster, for instance, a consumer might read reviews and use the Google service to purchase tickets.
Google is ramping up efforts to seed merchants nationwide with NFC tags, which can be read by NFC-enabled phones. Since mid-December, it has handed out hundreds of NFC kits–including window tags and fortune cookies to give to customers–to businesses in Portland, Ore., where Google is testing a project called Hotpot.
The article also mentions PayPal’s interest in tapping into NFC-enabled payments on mobile phones. PayPal “may start a commercial NFC service in the second half of 2011.”