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The Saga of the Virtual Wallet

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the holding-the-purse-strings dept.

Google 131

theodp writes "Fourteen years ago, Microsoft Wallet promised 'secure, convenient purchasing on the Internet.' That was then, this is now. TechCrunch reports that the first commercial for Google Wallet has been unveiled, and it stars Seinfeld's George Costanza and his overstuffed, exploding wallet. At launch (TBD), Google Wallet will allow you to use a Google Nexus S 4G (from Sprint) to tap-to-pay using Citi MasterCard cards or the Google Prepaid Card. Not to be outdone, PayPal offered a video sneak peek of its upcoming virtual wallet offering, which is promised to be more than 'just shoving a credit card on a phone.' In May, PayPal sued Google over electronic wallet technology, alleging that the search giant hired two of its former execs to obtain trade secrets for a mobile transactions project."

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Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434570)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434756)

Who is this troll and how does he keep getting first post?

I smell an inside job. No one is that dedicated.

PayPal Could Recut This Seinfeld Video for Lawsuit (1, Offtopic)

theodp (442580) | about 3 years ago | (#37434578)

In The Pick [youtube.com] , a Calvin Klein exec steals Kramer's idea for a 'Beach' perfume and comes out with one called 'Ocean' (script [seinology.com] ).
KRAMER: You smell like the beach. What's the name of that perfume? you're wearing.
TIA: It's Ocean by CALVIN KLEIN.
KRAMER: CALVIN KLEIN? No, no. That's my idea. They, they stole my idea. Y' see I had the idea of a cologne that makes you smell like you just came from the beach.
JERRY: I know look at this [shows ad]
KRAMER: Whooo, ... That's you! What is going on here? The gyp(?) he laughs at me then he steals my idea. I could have been a millionaire. I could have been a fragrance millionaire, Jerry. ... They're not going to get away with this.

I already have a virtual wallet (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 3 years ago | (#37434590)

The difficulty is going to be getting software for POS systems that accept money from my virtual wallet. It wouldn't be too hard if they also had an Android device, but some niceties for merchants would be missing from that solution.

I use this software [android.com] as my virtual wallet. It works pretty well. I've sent money to friends and gotten it back. It's slightly more cumbersome than handing them cash in some ways, and slightly less in others. But it does work already. I don't need Google or PayPal taking their cut.

Re:I already have a virtual wallet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434694)

Yeah, the problem with bitcoin is the 21 million bitcoin limit coupled with the high rate of inflation now (50 new bitcoins every 10 min). They should've used a lower rate that'd remain constant indefinitely. Your 21 million bitcoin limit attracts all these gold bug style speculators who make the currency unavailable and/or screw with the prices.

Re:I already have a virtual wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435114)

I understand that the 21 million bitcoin limit is a non-issue, since bitcoins can be divided to eight decimal places.

So, the true maximum number of bitcoins is: 21,000,000.00000000

And if they become scarce, people can just use centi-bitcoin as the default currency (or milli-bitcoin), or whatever.

Re:I already have a virtual wallet (1)

jthill (303417) | about 3 years ago | (#37435590)

Won't work. Prices would have to drop to match the new baseline. That's deflation, it's very not good even at a slow slide: money appreciates without being loaned, just by hoarding it. It's the problem with the gold standard; at least with gold you can generally dig up more or launch wars of conquest to take more.

You want to start out with one bitcoin equal to a million dollars? That's what it would take, and that wouldn't cover the Earth's economy even now (~74e14 cents, bitcoins can only go to 21e14 if your assertion is correct).

Re:I already have a virtual wallet (1)

kent_eh (543303) | about 3 years ago | (#37436056)

The difficulty is going to be getting software for POS systems that accept money from my virtual wallet.

There are still a lot of retailers whose POS won't accept chip-n-pin, 3 or 4 years after it was introduced here.

Also, I don't think anyone will be in a hurry to jump on this bandwagon if there are multiple, non-compatible "standards" out there.
And there's this too:

I don't need Google or PayPal taking their cut.

Employee empowerment (3, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | about 3 years ago | (#37434610)

Why not restrict patents to only humans? Then we don't have corps screwing over their inventors and instead pay to keep them... which would encourage inventors instead of just the greedy CEO wannabees.

Why shouldn't another company be able to hire employees from the competition to gain experience? There is NO REASON for anybody to be loyal to their employer today so the corps move to take away even more of our liberties. The argument shouldn't be about restricting liberties and harming a former employee's career just to protect themselves because they mistreat them; it shouldn't even be a question. If they want to leave and help the competition that is their RIGHT, if you don't want them to screw you, STOP MOTIVATING THEM!

Its somewhat like feudalism vs democracy played out on a different board game.

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434750)

While I initially like the idea, restricting patents to humans would just make things that much worse .

Yes it would be better if the inventor in question was the on who received the patent. But in all likelihood what we would see is some new corporate assets position created. In which all patents are filed in the name of said CEO wannabee. Which just creates one more stupid high paying job likely held by an imbecile who is now in control of some significant bargaining chips. Should they decide one day that they arbitrarily deserve a staggering pay increase.

Because the sad thing is that is likely how it would play out.

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#37434784)

suppose the guy with the patent for some new whiz medicine producing tool just goes bonkers?

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37435486)

Then his employer changes his job description to "act crazy" and keeps paying him so they can continue to enjoy the exclusive use of the patent. Win-win.

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

izomiac (815208) | about 3 years ago | (#37435730)

Then we all sit and contemplate why we let patents last for as long as they do. Besides, it seems like corporate insanity is more common anyway.

Re:Employee empowerment (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | about 3 years ago | (#37434834)

While I do like that idea, its has some problems.

There are thousands of patents which cover (say) Android. So this means that either google has to employ a thousand people who thought about the same idea, or employ one person who has all of them. Then if that person goes to Apple - Apple will now own Android. Smaller companies will be destroyed in this manner because now instead of paying lawyers, you can just buy employees. A small startup tries something? Buy one of the employees and crush them.

Secondly, if I'm employed to say Google, who spends tons of money for me to invent it, why shouldn't they keep it?

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434872)

Co-ownership is the only true way to encourage competition and growth in industry. Ideas can not be owned solely by the people that have them nor solely by those who implement and capitalize on them. If I come up with a product, you pay me, make it, sell it, and 4 years later I move to another company nothing should stop you from making and developing that product further and likewise nothing should stop me from building on that idea with another company to compete with you.

The concept of a company owning all ideas and products developed by its employees is archaic. Likewise the patent wars are getting so old. I get tired of people fighting over who was the first to round the corners of a rectangle. So dumb.

Re:Employee empowerment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435972)

Rather what .... employment contracts are for.

Google spends tons of money to invent something... and they get a return on their investment by using it. But thats no reason for Google to own it. Its more of a reason for the employee(s) that invented it to stick around at Google, letting them use it. And a reason for Google to not fuck its employees.

Re:Employee empowerment (2)

dmomo (256005) | about 3 years ago | (#37434932)

Good idea. But what if you have a group of inventors? Can a patent be shared? Can a patent be sold or transfered? If so, a corporation will always find a way to own it. Maybe the "stock holders" own it? Maybe the board of directors all share a slice? It's a good idea, but really needs to be thought out carefully.

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 3 years ago | (#37435178)

Adding the amount of time and money that was required to develop a patent should be added as an qualifying factor in the patent approval process. If a company spent millions of dollars creating a new medicine the length of the patent protection should at least be long enough to recover those expenses. The patents awarded in the software environment should require the patent owner to actually implement the patent themselves instead of just using the patent to shakedown those who use the patented idea. Shutting down companies whose sole business model is based on purchasing patents from others to shakedown the people using the patented idea should also be done. And the people making the decisions on whether to grant a patent should be required to include independent subject matter experts in the decision process. The current patent process appears to only require filling out the correct forms.

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 3 years ago | (#37435402)

If a company spent millions of dollars creating a new medicine the length of the patent protection should at least be long enough to recover those expenses.

Why? What if the invention is a flop, and is simply never successful enough to recoup the expense of developing it? (E.g. Polavision)

Patents exist to serve the public interest in having useful, novel, nonobvious inventions invented, disclosed, and brought to market, when this otherwise wouldn't happen, and in the public domain where they are the most useful.

Patents have never been a promise to the inventor that he will recover his expenses, or turn a profit. All that patents do is act like a funnel, allowing the patent holder to reap more of the possible value of the invention than he would otherwise. If the invention is valueless, or nearly so, then he gets nothing, or nearly nothing.

The market-based approach of the current patent (and copyright) systems are the right way to go. It avoids spending public money, and it ties the reward enjoyed by the inventor (or author) to what people actually think. It allows for failure, which is important to help people learn what to do and not to do. The possibility of reward is adequate incentive -- do you really think there's anyone out there who could invent but isn't, who would if we changed this? And it keeps patents (and copyrights) limited in duration and scope, which reduces the harm they cause to the public by prohibiting the free use of the invention (or work). It's really the most brilliant part of the system.

The patents awarded in the software environment should require the patent owner to actually implement the patent themselves instead of just using the patent to shakedown those who use the patented idea.

Meh. Then you'll see a piece of crappy software that barely manages to practice the patented invention, and which is deliberately priced so high that no one will ever buy it, and supporting it won't cost the patent holder anything. It'll just be part of the cost of doing business, rather than doing what you want.

Better would be to abolish software and business method patents. Remember, we grant patents to encourage inventors to invent things that they would not have done otherwise. In these specific fields, it's extremely likely that most of the inventions would be invented no matter what because of the powerful natural incentives that exist regardless of the availability of patents. I'd be willing to take a chance. And then, someday, if the pace of inventiveness in those fields should die down, we can consider granting patents to help encourage inventors again. The only thing that might be lost by not granting patents that's significant is disclosure, but it's often fairly clear to persons having ordinary skill in the art, and in the case of software, we could require disclosure as a part of the deposit requirement (not just for this, but also as good copyright policy) for copyrighted software, and probably do just fine.

And the people making the decisions on whether to grant a patent should be required to include independent subject matter experts in the decision process.

Examiners are independent subject matter experts. But the law obligates them to grant patents unless certain specific issues arise (e.g. the invention isn't novel). And they're usually pressed for time, so while the applicant may have had a team of lawyers working on the application for months, the examiner may only have a few hours to look it over.

Of course, I would remind you that a lot of things are obvious in hindsight that were really tricky to figure out in the first place; just because it makes sense once you've heard of it, that isn't enough to justify having the examiner shoot it down. It can be tricky to set hindsight aside.

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 3 years ago | (#37436638)

"What if the invention is a flop" In this case the entire patent process is inconsequential and not needed. Who would try to patent a proven failure? The businesses also assume an amount of risk when they fund R&D efforts. Profitable results from R&D are never guaranteed. "Patents have never been a promise to the inventor that he will recover his expenses, or turn a profit" Patents provide the incentive to continue funding R&D. If you spend a lot of money to develop a profitable technology knowing that it can be immediately used by your competitors, basically providing others with the results of your efforts, it would decrease the amount of money a company is willing to commit to R&D efforts from a pure profit/loss perspective.

Re:Employee empowerment (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 3 years ago | (#37437464)

In this case the entire patent process is inconsequential and not needed. Who would try to patent a proven failure?

Very few people, but that's because usually you try to get a patent before the invention is known to be a success or a failure. In Europe, IIRC, you cannot file for a patent once information about the invention has been made public, e.g. by selling them, which is necessary to find out if it's going to be a failure. In the US, you can file as late as one year after the invention has been made public. That's a lot better, but it still may not be enough time; some inventions take longer to become successful.

So while few people would try to patent inventions which are proven to be worthless, virtually everyone who does file patents, files them on inventions where no one knows whether they're valuable or worthless.

Patents provide the incentive to continue funding R&D.

They provide an incentive, but they are not the only incentive, and may not be the most important one. There are other incentives, e.g. first mover advantage. Also, no one has to get a patent, and plenty of inventors choose instead to rely on the protections of a trade secret instead. (Where so long as you don't reveal the secret, and no one else figures it out, you can control it.)

If you spend a lot of money to develop a profitable technology knowing that it can be immediately used by your competitors, basically providing others with the results of your efforts, it would decrease the amount of money a company is willing to commit to R&D efforts from a pure profit/loss perspective.

That depends on whether or not your competitors' use of the invention would harm your profits. It's possible that it wouldn't. Coke (and presumably Pepsi) keep their syrup recipes secret, but their real money is made from branding. It wouldn't matter if Pepsi determined the exact formula for Coke (probably not too hard with some well-equipped chemists), since the standard business practice in that industry is differentiation.

CyberCash (4, Informative)

nsuccorso (41169) | about 3 years ago | (#37434612)

Fourteen years ago, Microsoft wholesale copied an existing competitor's product to announce Microsoft Wallet. That competitor was CyberCash, which was the first to provide a secure payment system on the Internet. I remember watching a Microsoft promotional video where actually showed pages from CyberCash's web site and presented them as their own, being careful to scroll down enough before the cameras rolled to cut off the CyberCash banners. I learned an important lesson about Microsoft that day.

Re:CyberCash (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#37434638)

Yes, that sounds like the very first instance where Microsoft copied a competitors product and then presented it to the world as if it were something they 'invented'.

Re:CyberCash (0)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37434736)

Well, to be fair, they did steal the idea of stealing other people's ideas from Apple. They couldn't just do it immediately or people would notice.

Re:CyberCash (1)

Greystripe (1985692) | about 3 years ago | (#37435390)

Or to actually be fair you could realize that Apple asked for and was given permission, thereby making your point invalid.

Re:CyberCash (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37435662)

Which explains why they were later sued by Xerox? They weren't granted permission to steal the ideas, they were granted permission to visit the facility and ultimately Apple sued MS for doing what Apple had already done.

Just because it's Apple doesn't mean the theft was any less theft.

Re:CyberCash (2)

Greystripe (1985692) | about 3 years ago | (#37436488)

Xerox sued because Apple made money off an idea they had thought to be worthless, however they had given permission making their suit untenable.

Re:CyberCash (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 3 years ago | (#37435246)

Or the first company to do so.

Re:CyberCash (2)

joaommp (685612) | about 3 years ago | (#37435332)

AFAIK Microsoft didn't copy the product and presented as their own. They were rebranding it from Cybercash, Cybercash was making money from Microsoft Wallet.

Re:CyberCash (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 3 years ago | (#37434680)

I learned an important lesson about Microsoft that day.

What, that they're still up to the same old tricks that made them the multi-bazillion-dollar company that they are today?

Re:CyberCash (5, Interesting)

Owyn (934) | about 3 years ago | (#37434866)

Someone remembers that! I worked at CyberCash. I was the primary author of the merchant server component (CashRegister, MCK, SMPS, whatever it was called) for a couple of years, before it got handed off to another team and I was assigned to the SET project (does anybody remember that piece of crap?). It was the first C++ app I ever wrote, and I was a college student, so I literally had the Stephens books on Unix and TCP/IP open on my desk as I worked 14 hours a day to complete the first version. They hired me full time after that and I eventually rewrote most of it to not suck as much. There was ONE version that leaked no memory, all the others were pretty much crap. Sorry about that to anyone who was using it at the time. :) It was all designed before SSL was implemented in browsers so it used real RSA crypto which was fun to work on (those parts were written by graybeards, I just did all the integration). All that stuff probably should have just been a web service / API but at the time nobody really knew how to build web apps and there was no other way to do end-to-end security, so it was all written from scratch. It was plain C++. STL was flaky and Boost didn't exist. I basically wrote a web server and a database and an asynch message processing daemon all rolled in one app that sat between the consumer wallet and the central cybercash gateway which unwrapped everything and talked to the "real" bank. Fun project!

Re:CyberCash (4, Informative)

Owyn (934) | about 3 years ago | (#37434976)

Also, IIRC the microsoft wallet WAS the cybercash wallet. I didn't work on the wallet so my memory is fuzzy, but it wasn't a wholesale theft or anything, just a re-branding. We had some kind of a partnership thing going on. Cybercash was making money on the back end merchant banking side of things so having a different wallet or even a different merchant server would have been fine with us.

Re:CyberCash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37437440)

So you just found out that Microsoft didn't simply copy a competitor's product but actually had an agreement with them and your "important lesson" was based on your incorrect assumptions. It seems you have learned another important lesson.

Trade Secrets (2)

slashqwerty (1099091) | about 3 years ago | (#37434614)

What sort of trade secrets are involved in transferring currency from person A to person B? The only thing holding this back is the chicken and egg problem of deploying a standard that is widely adopted.

Re:Trade Secrets (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37434724)

What sort of trade secrets are involved in transferring currency from person A to person B?

Usually a lot of "dazzle them with BS" snake-oil crypto this is carefully designed to be completely wide open to cops and advertisers.

The only thing holding this back is the chicken and egg problem of deploying a standard that is widely adopted

Standardization probs, and that tiny little problem of a reason why. Its not the kind of thing that anyone desires. There are some wanna-be middlemen who are hoping to intermediate themselves, everyone else is like "who cares". Whats in it for me is ... um... uh... nothing, and whats in it for wanna-be intermediaries is make money fast.

Re:Trade Secrets (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about 3 years ago | (#37435340)

Er, a lot of people desire this, myself included.

If I could use NFC at every store that takes Paypass, and Google Wallet was available here, then I would be the first to sign up. One less piece of crap in my wallet.

Re:Trade Secrets (2)

tftp (111690) | about 3 years ago | (#37435738)

A plastic card weighs about 2 grams. It doesn't depend on power or on the wireless network; it is far more reliable than the phone; it can't be remotely hacked into. You may want the phone payment as a novelty, but in practical terms this is a solution without a problem.

It may even be that most people need as difficult a payment system as it can be - so that they start thinking about what they are paying for. Easy payments often lead to big debts. All these "wallets" simply facilitate impulse buying; the faster they do it, the less time the customer has to think about the purchase. Parting with silver coins has a certain psychological effect - here you hold them in your hand, and here you give them away. This effect is not present when you pay with plastic or those digital wallets.

Re:Trade Secrets (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37437644)

The plastic card is vulnerable to the first crooked cashier you encounter. A smart card might be better (a decent one, not the chip and PIN crap that can be defeated with a bit of sticky tape).

Re:Trade Secrets (1)

tftp (111690) | about 3 years ago | (#37437722)

The plastic card is vulnerable to the first crooked cashier you encounter.

Not if you scan the card yourself or watch it done. Only at a restaurant the waiter is likely to walk away with the card; but nothing stops you from following her with the card in hand.

A smart card might be better

Yes; US banks don't use them, though, for one simple reason: losses from card fraud are smaller than the cost of smart cards.

The problem with "personal wallets" is that once you are in full control of your cash in that wallet the bank will not refund a fraudulent transaction. That may expose you to theft or torture. Today all that is covered. A c/c today is actually safer than cash.

The most obvious danger to mag strip cards comes from card skimmers. A smart card may be able to defeat those, but I'm not sure - considering that the skimmer may be installed deep inside the circuit. External skimmers would of course be useless.

Re:Trade Secrets (1)

ibennetch (521581) | about 3 years ago | (#37436398)

If I could use NFC at every store that takes Paypass, and Google Wallet was available here, then I would be the first to sign up. One less piece of crap in my wallet.

See, that's the part I don't get. Even if you plan on using NFC in your phone, I would imagine you'd still have to carry cash or a credit card just in case. What if the reader is down, what if you need gas and they don't have a reader, etc. There are some places around here that take Paypass, but more that don't -- especially restaurants, grocery stores...all the place I tend to spend more than a few dollars at once. Even though I pay with credit whenever I can, it's still handy to have some cash on hand. Or am I over-thinking it -- do you hope to only shop where you can use your NFC device?

Re:Trade Secrets (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37434742)

I'd personally be more comfortable with an app that could be scanned by a barcode reader the way that my library card can. Makes it a lot harder for somebody to skim my information without my knowing about it.

Google + my money = no thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434658)

While it's clear that Google’s intention is simply about getting as much information on people as possible for the sole purpose of being able to tell advertisers that they know *absolutely everything* about you. This is how they make their billions. I'd really like to maintain a healthy distance from services that would provide them with *even more* personal information than they are all ready able to ascertain. Where my concern lies is that I have little faith that they will be unable to resist the temptation (or the secret gov’t court order) to provide or use this information for unintended (and likely unethical) purposes in the not too distant future. They know who you associate with, have all your mail (bills, love letters, homework sent from the office etc.), calendar/appointments, surfing logs, purchase information, etc. I’ll leave it up to the tin foil hat theorists to dream up ways this information can be used improperly - but it scares me enough to turn down the shiny red apples like Google wallet, Google+...

Ironic, isn't it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434664)

Paypal sues Google, but is very happy to use Google's YouTube to exhibit it's "technology" :-)

Re:Ironic, isn't it? (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37434746)

About as ironic as that Alanis Morrisette song

One thing became obvious... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 3 years ago | (#37434678)

...Apple appears to be on track to dominate commerce that involves intangible goods, (read ebooks, songs and the like because of its restrictions), while Google and others might dominate the tangible goods 'spectrum'.

Here is the trouble: The growth of camps with Visa tussling it out with MasterCard and the rest.

What the ordinary folk would like to see is a comparison of all these services in tabular form preferably, with a focus on the entire world, not on the USA alone as some reviews have tended to do.

Re:One thing became obvious... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37434718)

Visa and Mastercard are barely different companies, I doubt they will bother to fight about anything.

Re:One thing became obvious... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37435572)

They will fight though, just enough to keep the illusion going and to create an excuse not standardizing on something that might eventually cut them out of the loop.

LUKS, please (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#37434688)

I'm not going to store my financials on a phone that doesn't have an encrypted data store. These guys [github.com] are making great progress towards it, but Google needs to 'send beer' and take the patches.

Re:LUKS, please (1)

izomiac (815208) | about 3 years ago | (#37435814)

There are two open issues in android regarding that. 11211 [google.com] and 3748 [google.com] . Both are flagged medium priority and one & two years old respectively. But seriously, phones hold tons of private information and are frequently lost. Manual encryption of sensitive data is never going to work, with app developers strewing it everywhere (e.g. thumbnails), so OTFE of /data and /mnt/sdcard is the best solution.

Sadly, I suspect someone thinks users prefer convenience over security, so it'll likely be a while before we see these implemented by default. (Normally, I'd think users would prefer convenience, but with something like 1/8 losing their phones I think you could explain the danger fairly easily.)

Re:LUKS, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37436452)

Note that the device this is to launch on (the Nexus S 4G w/sprint) contains what's called a "Secure Element" - the financial details are encrypted with a key available only to this element: http://www.globalsmart.com/NXP_PN544_new_controller

Re:LUKS, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37437556)

I'm not going to store my financials on a phone that doesn't have an encrypted data store. These guys are making great progress towards it, but Google needs to 'send beer' and take the patches.

If only there was a mobile phone that was designed from the ground up with strong encryption, that had been tested, audited & certified.

Maybe I could call it blackberry: http://us.blackberry.com/ataglance/security/certifications.jsp [blackberry.com]

However, everyone tells me that blackberry is dying:
http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/09/18/0542230/The-Big-Problem-With-RIM [slashdot.org]

Blackberry really needs to point out the flaws with its competitors. When you have your entire digital life, with accounts & passwords for banking, social networking & communications all on one device, strong security is vital.

Now all we need is (-1, Offtopic)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 years ago | (#37434704)

Kosmo Kramer selling speed, and Elaine talking about the pearl necklace she was given by an admirer.

Too bad my wallet isn't exploding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37434726)

I suppose that people with too much money in their lives will find this idea intriguing. But since it's not going to get your loyalty cards out of your wallet, it's not going to help with the kind of overstuffed wallet problem that the rest of us have... you know, the people who do their own shopping.

Re:Too bad my wallet isn't exploding (1)

entrigant (233266) | about 3 years ago | (#37435710)

Store your loyalty cards bar codes on the phone. A couple of screen taps and the phone can reproduce it for the scanner.

Re:Too bad my wallet isn't exploding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37436036)

Not on my phone. I have a flip-open LG crapfone. It might be transflective, but it's not high-res enough to make bar codes.

Re:Too bad my wallet isn't exploding (1)

entrigant (233266) | about 3 years ago | (#37437244)

Good point. I was working inside the implied scope of the article relating to the subset of phones that'd work with this wallet tech. My assumption is NFC equipped phones.

Re:Too bad my wallet isn't exploding (1)

furbearntrout (1036146) | about 3 years ago | (#37437044)

Trythis [mycardstar.com] .

Bitcoin wallet aps are working in the real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434822)

The virtual wallet is alive and well. I received more then 20 in person bitcoin payments via the android bitcoin wallet ap at the bitcoin convention in NYC during august. Online I sell things as well, and people tend to pay via the bitcoin wallet ap for that runs on all of the major platforms.

Bitcoin wallet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434828)

The most successful virtual wallet in the long run may be Bitcoin wallets for smartphones. Now that Google is taking a close look at Bitcoin and possibly combine it with Google Wallet, this may boost Bitcoin adoption even further. While the BTC(Bitcoin)/USDollar exchange rate has bottomed, Bitcoin use is steadily increasing. With larger chains mulling about accepting Bitcoins for payment and Bitcoin wallets becoming convenient to use, there is a good change that Bitcoin may become the de facto virtual wallet much sooner than we all would have thought.

Re:Bitcoin wallet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434888)

With larger chains mulling about accepting Bitcoins for payment

[citation needed]

get a banking license first (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37434850)

then try to sell me a "virtual wallet"

(for what a banking license is worth nowadays, it is still better than nothing)

Soooooo much easier... yeah, right (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about 3 years ago | (#37434870)

Yeah, because it is sooooo much more difficult to take out a card and swipe it than it is to take my phone out of its case, unlock it, find and launch the app, and then "tap" it on some reader thing.

Just what I want to do after giving Google access to my contacts, my phone calls, my applications, my location, and all my searching.... give them access to my purchasing and purchasing records.

No thanks.

And no, I don't have a Google checkout account (one reason I use Amazon App Market) and don't use Gmail (I have a Gmail account ONLY because it is mandated for Android, I don't actually use it), and don't use Google talk or chat or Picasa or Plus. For all of these, I intentionally use different services/carriers.

I am amazed that most people see no danger in turning over more and more and more and more personal information to a single, giant company. Especially one that makes all its money not on we as "customers" but from other companies. And one that doesn't even have a way to contact a human when something goes horribly wrong.

Re:Soooooo much easier... yeah, right (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37434896)

I am amazed that most people see no danger in turning over more and more and more and more personal information to a single, giant company. Especially one that makes all its money not on we as "customers" but from other companies. And one that doesn't even have a way to contact a human when something goes horribly wrong.

You make them sound as bad as a government, yet they are much more restrained.

Re:Soooooo much easier... yeah, right (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 3 years ago | (#37435316)

Yeah. I mean, it's not like Google would send out trucks on every street scooping up all the wireless traffic they could. Only a government would do that.

Re:Soooooo much easier... yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435406)

Wait, and since when MS didn't?

Here's what I want from any tech like this (1)

melted (227442) | about 3 years ago | (#37435008)

I want a common taxonomy of goods, and I want to be able automatically split my receipts and bills by categories. Say, I went to a Fred Meyer and bought some groceries, and a pair of socks. I want to have, in standardized electronic form, the information about how much I spent on groceries (with further breakdown between e.g. dairy, vegetables, ice cream and so on) and socks. I want to have info on how much I paid for the socks. I want to have the info how much I paid in sales tax. Same with any other store. I'm sure Fred Meyer already has (and mines) this data. I want this to be accessible and standardized across stores.

If this information is not available to me with these electronic wallets, they can shove them up their ass. There's nothing in them for me. If it is, I'm fine with Google knowing that I bought lettuce yesterday.

Re:Here's what I want from any tech like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435602)

Something SIMILAR is on the way (VEERY slowly) in Denmark.

We have a service called e-receipt (ekvittering.dk) which allows you to automatically have receipts online of your purchases on your credit card. Only a few stores have entered the program, which is why I personally don't use it. But if they succeed in getting major players of food chains on board, it would be good. Data can be parsed, so this is a start.

Oh, and my online BANK does this for me, already. I can login to my homebank and see last period (selectable) how much I spent on gas, food, etc etc - split by store. So we are getting there.

But yes, I also would like to see and parse EVERY single item I buy. Store, item, amount, cost, category. The data is there for sure...

Re:Here's what I want from any tech like this (1)

melted (227442) | about 3 years ago | (#37437042)

The model where entire stores are classified as food, clothing, etc breaks down in the US. Here most stores seem to sell everything, from drugs, to clothing, to groceries.

Re:Soooooo much easier... yeah, right (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 3 years ago | (#37435388)

Yeah, because it is sooooo much more difficult to take out a card and swipe it than it is to take my phone out of its case, unlock it, find and launch the app, and then "tap" it on some reader thing.

I would totally go for such a thing if it worked like a disposable credit card number. [wikimedia.org] Those significantly increase my privacy by preventing merchants from using a service to cross-reference my purchases based on my CC#.

Of course Google would love to use their privileged access to become the only company capable of providing such a cross-referencing service, so the idea is moot in this context. Doesn't mean someone else couldn't do it better though.

Guns and Porn (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 3 years ago | (#37434934)

Did you know you can't buy porn, firearms, or firearms-related products with PayPal? It's all spelled out in the TOS and I've been waiting for someone to come along and knock PayPal off their high and mighty pedestal.
Maybe Google's the one?

Obligatory BitCoin pimpage (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 3 years ago | (#37434960)

It should support BitCoin 'cause BitCoin is like, you know, cool.

Re:Obligatory BitCoin pimpage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435136)

Nothing's going to happen without a corporation pushing it through. Do we even have a manufacturer of Bitcoin POS devices? Lots of discussions of how they could be built, but that's about it. No one has a vested in interest in forcing Bitcoin to happen.

Re:Obligatory BitCoin pimpage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435282)

It should support BitCoin 'cause BitCoin is like, you know, cool.

Bitcoin already runs fine as a virtual wallet. I received many payments in person via customers android bitcoin wallet ap, as well as hundreds of payments to my website from customers bitcoin wallet aps.

There are some very basic bitcoin POS programs out there as open source and they are improving all of the time. Bitcoin will be the virtual wallet standard after the hype disappears and people realize it just works.

Re:Obligatory BitCoin pimpage (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 3 years ago | (#37435400)

Bitcoin already runs fine as a virtual wallet. I received many payments in person via customers android bitcoin wallet ap, as well as hundreds of payments to my website from customers bitcoin wallet aps.

There are some very basic bitcoin POS programs out there as open source and they are improving all of the time. Bitcoin will be the virtual wallet standard after the hype disappears and people realize it just works.

Wow. Hundreds you say? That's some big-time ecommerce right there. So..., how is it that it's actually going to gain some meaningful traction only after the hype disappears? BTW, calling the nattering of a few geeks "hype" is being awfully generous, IMHO. I'll go (not very far at all) out on a limb and predict that when the "hype" disappears, so will bitcoin. In other words, it is never going to happen.

Re:Obligatory BitCoin pimpage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435896)

It should support BitCoin 'cause BitCoin is like, you know, cool.

Bitcoin already runs fine as a virtual wallet. I received many payments in person via customers android bitcoin wallet ap, as well as hundreds of payments to my website from customers bitcoin wallet aps.

There are some very basic bitcoin POS programs out there as open source and they are improving all of the time. Bitcoin will be the virtual wallet standard after the hype disappears and people realize it just works.

Yep. It's pretty much the same deal as when ogg wiped mp3 off the market.

Re:Obligatory BitCoin pimpage (1)

bjourne (1034822) | about 3 years ago | (#37436770)

Bitcoin is a distributed system that allows individuals to transfer currency without the involvement of a central server. As such there is absolutely no need for any middle men to take a slice of each transaction in fees. Since there is no profit to be made, the idea is dead in the water.

Government (5, Insightful)

mcelrath (8027) | about 3 years ago | (#37435122)

Last I checked, issuing currency to enable commerce was a responsibility of the government. The US government has been utterly failing to create electronic currency for about 30 years now, preferring to let insurance companies and usurers create a ridiculously insecure, non-interoperable systems, all the while dragging down the economy with transaction fees, so they can get campaign contributions from them.

This is the responsibility of the government. Give us electronic currency already!

Re:Government (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435422)

I though private enterprise was the solution to all our problems?

Re:Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37436186)

Well then it's clearly government regulations and bureaucrats holding back electronic currency.

Re:Government (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#37436966)

The US government has an electronic currency: US Dollars. Most dollars exist as simply numbers in a database somewhere in a bank, and many transactions involve only the transfer of electronic information (like account / routing numbers or credit card numbers). Whether you're talking point-of-sale or online, all transactions go through a bunch of middlemen, each of whom take a fee for their services.

All that these efforts to create a 'virtual wallet' do is change the list of middlemen involved to include whichever tech company owns the wallet. The value proposition to merchants is pretty much nil (Why spend the money to accommodate Google, Microsoft, etc if I can just ask them to use a credit card?). The value proposition is less than nil for the customer: They might be able to pay for things slightly more easily, but they're trusting their money to a business that is not regulated like a bank, and any virtual wallet that they can easily empty, a thief can also easily empty.

Re:Government (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | about 3 years ago | (#37437120)

Last I checked, issuing currency to enable commerce was a responsibility of the government. The US government has been utterly failing to create electronic currency for about 30 years now, preferring to let insurance companies and usurers create a ridiculously insecure, non-interoperable systems, all the while dragging down the economy with transaction fees, so they can get campaign contributions from them.

This is the responsibility of the government. Give us electronic currency already!

... they do provide a currency, the USD, and a standard way of sending it from institution to institution, ACH. Moving money around more rapidly than that does not require a new currency or the government.

Duh.

Re:Government (1)

mcelrath (8027) | about 3 years ago | (#37437278)

Try paying for your coffee with ACH.

doesn't help with any of the issues I care about (1)

bcrowell (177657) | about 3 years ago | (#37435584)

I clicked through google's material on how it's supposed to work. I'm left with zero interest in the idea.

Here are some of the problems with the way things presently work:

  • 1. I have too many cards to carry around in my wallet: a credit card, driver's license, health insurance cards, ...
  • 2. It's annoying having to carry coins around.
  • 3. If you use a debit card or ATM card, banks have exploitative practices designed to maximize how many fees you pay them.
  • 4. If you use a debit card or ATM card, you aren't protected against fraud or theft.
  • 5. If you use a credit card, you're hurting merchants by siphoning off their profits to a bank. This is why I only use credit cards at places like chain restaurants, not mom-and-pop businesses.
  • 6. Stores have loyalty programs where they expect you to carry around a card, which is a hassle.
  • 7. Everybody wants to fill a database with information about what I buy. Some businesses (supermarkets) are honest about it, give me a choice, and give me significant financial incentives to let them have my info. Other businesses aren't honest about it and don't give me a choice.

As far as I can tell from google's info, they solve precisely zero of these problems.

They don't solve problem 1, because the phone is much, much bulkier than the single credit card that it replaces.

They don't solve 2, because if it's a transaction where I want to use cash, it's still a transaction where I want to use cash.

They don't solve 3, 4, or 5, because apparently it's purely a credit card deal, which will work the same way credit cards currently work.

Re 6, they specifically mention that it's supposed to allow you to use certain stores' loyalty programs without having to carry around a card. Well, the only one that really counts for a significant amount of money for me is the supermarket one, and that one I can do by typing my phone number into the terminal.

Google doesn't solve 7. In fact, they'll make it worse, because they'll be collecting the information about how much I spend on vodka, cigarettes, and kinky lingerie and using it to show me ads in my browser later.

Re:doesn't help with any of the issues I care abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435998)

1. Four cards are not too many to carry. Even if they were you can probably limit the number you actually carry. I have no need to carry my health cards, unless I am going to the doctor/pharmacy. (Rare.)

2. True. The use of cards eliminates this as does donating the change into the charity collection bin at the counter.

3. Some banks do, especially if you don;t keep any money at the bank. I've had BoA accounts for 20 years and haven't paid any fee to BoA ever.

4. Not always true. My BoA debit card is protected.

5. False. The transaction costs of credit and debit cards have already been added into the cost of the merchandise. It is a cost of doing business that os passed on to the consumer. If you wish to pay the same but allow the shopkeeper to keep more for himself, that's up to you. But, you're not costing him anything for using the card, regardless of what the Indian at the gas station told you.

6. Don't participate in the program. I refuse to for many other reasons. But, if you want the benefit, that's the price you pay.

7. True, they all do. But, you don't have to give in to them. Don't carry the loyalty card. Don't give them the information that they can't understand why you wish to keep from them. 'Phone number?' Say no! Don't want you ever calling me!

Re:doesn't help with any of the issues I care abou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37436088)

And apparently you arent the intended target market. Because apparently you don't carry you phone around with you anyway, so you're obviously worse off with a bulkier phone instead of the card. Whereas most people who will use this already have their phones on them and will now get to discard the physical card.

I won't be going with Google Wallet because Citi is a fucking filthy piece of shit company. I might if they add other card providers. We will see.

But I am amused that you are like "they solve precisely zero of these problems" .. but you arrive at that conclusion by discarding the problems that it does, in fact, solve. Well.. problem, really. Because #1 and #6 are essentially the same too many cards problem.

Microsoft Banking Monopoly (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37435592)

Yeah, that's what we need: PayPal and Microsoft to hold a global Internet banking cartel. The way the Microsoft/Apple duopoly served us so well for all these years.

Dude, What About My Keys? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37435642)

What I want more than a digital wallet is an app on my phone that unlocks and starts my car, instead of using my physical keys. My keys already have a remote un/lock and alarm dis/arm button, and I could get a remote starter installed on them too. But I want my phone to do it, and to do it over at least WiFi if not 3G/4G.

Yes, the wireless control is a security risk, but so are physical keys. And so is the remote un/lock dis/arm on them. I want to get the benefit of access from the security, as long as I'm getting the risks.

Where's my Android app and in-car lock it controls?

Re:Dude, What About My Keys? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37435772)

"What I want more than a digital wallet is an app on my phone that unlocks and starts my car, instead of using my physical keys. " then stop being cheap and buy that. Several car alarm systems out there already do this. Viper has one that will do the remote start as well.

Re:Dude, What About My Keys? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37435802)

And the Android network app that I said is what I'm really interested in is...?

What happens ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435716)

What happens when the police take your phone? Then they have your social network, photos, telephone, and now your credit cards. A phone handset alone can be quite valuable but add credit cards to it and thieves will (literally) be standing in line to mug you. I like having my phone, wallet, car remote as separate devices.

PayPaL already had this. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37435758)

on the palm pilot in 2000. I had an app that would let me beam money to other users and store registers.

Nobody used it as paypal back then wanted obscene fees. Today they want utterly obscene fees. Thus no stores will adopt it and it's stillborn already.

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37435870)

Does it have that property of cash that just about all "big" players studiously miss, the ability to pay without also handing over your name and all those other little tidbits they have no need to know?

Can we load it with Itchy and Scratchy dollars? (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 3 years ago | (#37436048)

"It works just like regular money, but it's, uh . . . fun."

I don't get it (2)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | about 3 years ago | (#37436392)

Can someone explain to me what advantage this is supposed to have over a credit card? What problem are they trying to solve?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 3 years ago | (#37436590)

With Credit Cards they only charge you for the credit card transaction.

This way they can charge for the wallet transaction, and the credit card.

Digital Computers had micro tranactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37436782)

Digital computers had micro transactions long long ago. They were a cool idea. You could do micro-transactions like 1/1000th of a cent. Might seem useless but the idea would actually work for things like workable paywalls for newspapers and magazines. You could be paying like half a cent per page and not really caring how many pages you click on. But it would quickly add up for the site getting paid. Or online gaming. You could even charge by the bullet. If they had gotten some traction I suspect the web would be a very different place today.

Digital Computers had microtransactions long ago (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 3 years ago | (#37436794)

Digital computers had micro transactions long long ago. They were a cool idea. You could do micro-transactions like 1/1000th of a cent. Might seem useless but the idea would actually work for things like workable paywalls for newspapers and magazines. You could be paying like half a cent per page and not really caring how many pages you click on. But it would quickly add up for the site getting paid. Or online gaming. You could even charge by the bullet. If they had gotten some traction I suspect the web would be a very different place today.

BTW Sorry about the anonymous dup post, somehow got logged out.

Marketing departments with too much money (1)

Mattpw (1777544) | about 3 years ago | (#37437658)

Ive been to several conferences where companies are rolling out this phone as a payment platforms.. Its a scam designed to get gulible journalists interested and either boost company exposure, dupe investors into buying shares or prove that X manager is being "innovative". Some are literally RFID credit card sim cards sticky taped onto the back of a mobile I kid you not. The reality is that everyone has a physical wallet/purse and that isnt going away any time soon. Also there are many things in that wallet which cannot be replaced by a mobile phone. Also are these the same journalists who write the "New Android Malware" articles which come out every week?
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