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Google expands Wallet to support merchant website offers

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has quietly introduced its Save-To-Wallet API, enabling customers to transfer promotional offers from a merchant's website directly to their Android smartphone.

According to Google, the Save-To-Wallet API transfers merchant offers from the web to its Google Wallet tap-and-pay service with a single click--customers redeem offers by showing the offer code at the point of sale or by tapping their NFC-enabled Android device at a corresponding digital reader. The POS terminal recognizes the offer code and applies the discount to the consumer's basket. Google Wallet also reminds consumers to visit the store before an offer expires.

Google notes that merchants can add the Save to Google Wallet button to their website by copying and pasting a JavaScript snippet provided upon offer registration. Once an offer is saved to a phone, Google will display a thumbnail image of the deal each time the user browses through Wallet, visually reinforcing the retailer's brand. Google adds that the Save-to-Wallet concept also simplifies the user experience by eliminating the need for merchants to send offers via email or for customers to print them out for in-store redemption.

The Save-To-Wallet API is currently limited to Google Wallet merchant partners and requires authorization for use. Retailers supporting Google Wallet include American Eagle Outfitters, The Container Store, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice, Macy's, OfficeMax, Pinkberry and Toys"R"Us.

Google first introduced coupon capabilities to Wallet last fall by adding support for SingleTap, which enables consumers to redeem coupons and/or earn rewards points with one tap of their Android smartphone. Google Wallet also boasts the Featured Offers tab, which spotlights exclusive discounts from select retailers.

Google Wallet went live in May 2011. Although Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) has introduced a handful of Android smartphones supporting the service, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA have shunned Google Wallet as they continue building out their own nationwide m-commerce network, Isis, slated to begin consumer trials later this year. Reports also indicate Sprint is planning its own rival contactless payment initiative, casting doubt on how Google Wallet fits into its plans moving forward.

In March, Bloomberg reported Google is considering sharing Wallet revenues with operators to expand the service to additional Android devices and galvanize consumer adoption. Another possibility under consideration, sources told Bloomberg: Google may sidestep operators altogether, relying more heavily on in-store point-of-sale systems to process Google Wallet transactions.

For more:
- read this NFC World article
- visit the Google Developers website

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