Google has announced that it will bring its Google Wallet mobile payments service to the United Kingdom before summer 2012.
Google's Google Wallet application was released a couple of months back, but only a handful of people can actually make use of the NFC-based payment app. First of all, they need to be in the right place, as not all retailers support Google Wallet and the service is, for now, only available in select U.S. cities. Second, you need to have a phone with integrated NFC. However, if you've got the latter covered but are based in London as opposed to the USA, then you might actually be able to use Google Wallet in the not too distant future.
According to French newspaper, Le Echos, London has been chosen as the next pilot city for Google Wallet, and the service will arrive in time for the Olympics. According to the paper, Google's trial will kick off in the first quarter of 2012, testing mobile payments and special NFC coupons. Though Le Echos doesn't give much else in the way of information, it does mention that Google is in talks with several banking and distribution companies, as well as the French manufacturer Ingenico, as part of its London trial. In the United States, the company paired up with Sprint, so it's likely it will partner with a network here, too.
This is not the first time we've heard NFC and Olympics in the same breath. Earlier this year, Samsung, Lloyds TSB and Visa announced that athletes competing in London’s 2012 Olympic Games would be given special NFC-ready Samsung smartphones. This unique Olympics-brand phone would also be available for purchase by members of the public.