Google integrating mobile payments into Android 2.3

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Google will integrate Near Field Communications technology into the next version of its Android mobile operating system, enabling users to make retail purchases via their smartphone. Speaking Monday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Android 2.3--codenamed "Gingerbread"--will launch within the next several weeks; according to Schmidt, some future Android devices will contain NFC chips enabling users to "bump" their phone against participating retailers' point-of-sale technology, funding purchases without cash or credit. Google adds it will leverage the bump solution to enable consumers to touch Android smartphones together to share information or data.

In related news, Google announced the launch of its free Shopper 1.3 application for Android, adding new search filters like "price" and "brand" alongside existing features including local product availability, barcode scanning and voice search. Shopper 1.3 also incorporates new "featured lists"--i.e., gift ideas and other groupings designed to save consumers time and energy during the holiday season, identifying products and the best place to purchase them. Writing on the Official Google Mobile Blog, senior software engineer Daniel Switkin notes iPhone users can turn to Google's Mobile Product Search to leverage many of the features in Shopper 1.3.

Also new: Google Maps 4.7, which boasts Hotpot, a new local recommendations engine enabling users to rate and review restaurants and merchants on the go while also receiving personalized suggestions. "Your ratings will personalize your search results by customizing them according to your tastes," explains Google Mobile product manager Mat Balez. "Even better, when you add friends to the mix using Hotpot on your computer, your ratings will point them in the direction of the best enchiladas in town the next time they crave Mexican food, wherever they happen to be."

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

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