It means lots of competitors will be upping their Mbps sometimes double while they get their own Gb services in. Cox here in Phoenix doubled speeds and since Google Fiber announced Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe they all are the focus for Cox's new Gigablast service.
Google Fiber not only brings Gbps broadband they are encouraging it elsewhere in those cities and surrounding areas. I just wish Chandler was in the announcement as we were one of the first 4 cities to get cable broadband in the 90's largely due to Intel. The cities that Google Fiber picks are getting better internet just by being announced from Google and competitors alike.
Broadband cable during inception in the 90's was such a big leap it was almost magic from 56k to up to 6mb down when you were new on a node. It was unreal and the cable companies were heroes. They could have kept going, there are still only a small percentage of channels used for data/broadband. They can compete now but haven't, all that wasted on channels noone watches.
Now it feels like cities are winning the Google Fiber bandwidth lottery because broadband providers have been throttling in their extract phase for so long with no competition. Google Fiber is spreading competition and better internet almost as magically as the cable companies did with broadband in the 90s.
Comcast doubled their speeds throughout the Salt Lake metro area a few months back (around the same time Google announced Salt Lake City as a potential Google Fiber location). I'm on a 100 Mbps download now. It's a nice consolation prize for those of us between Salt Lake and Provo because while we aren't on the Google Fiber roadmap we still (seemingly) reap some of the competitive benefits of it being nearby.
The announcement stated that Google Fiber will be limited to the Salt Lake City-proper boundaries. There are only a couple hundred thousand people living in SLC itself though, and only a hundred thousand in Provo. The area between Salt Lake and Provo has close to 1.5 million people and is very close to being just one big contiguous sprawl. I can't imagine them not expanding into those areas unless the city councils make it too difficult.
Google Wallet was terrible because you had to unlock your phone and enter a PIN, making it instantly way more cumbersome than swiping a card.
Since the iPhones that have NFC also have TouchID, they can authenticate you instantly without resorting to a PIN. If it works as advertised, it will be a huge improvement over Google Wallet.
(I still think Square got closest to an ideal payment scheme with Pay with Square, where the cashier verifies your face to charge you without requiring you to pull anything out. Too bad they broke it by requiring you to pull out your phone to check-in before it would work.)
Agreed on Square, but they even went a step further for a time and allowed geofencing at your favorite places...back when Square Wallet was still around, I used to frequently go to a Houston-area coffee shop with Square Register and never had to pull my phone out to pay. It was downright magical...wish they hadn't cancelled Wallet, it really had so much potential.
In the short term, sure, but if there's sufficient uptake things might look different in a few years.
For me, it might not take much - just Walgreens, some supermarkets, and a decent number of local restaurants supporting this might be enough to allow me to leave my wallet at home on a typical workday. Ironically the one card I'd probably still need, my transit card (Clipper), I assume also uses NFC of some sort. It'd be nice if the new iPhone's NFC feature could support that as well.
Clipper uses a technology called "MiFare DESFire". I'm under the impression that mobile phones can read these, but can't emulate them for some reason. (But apparently they can emulate its predecessor, MiFare Classic, which is unencrypted?)
No idea if it'll be a bigger success, but some thoughts:
1. Timing - 2011 (Wallet release) seems early for consumer NFC, not to mention smartphone penetration ( ~30% 2011 to ~70% 2014) and mass market comfort with mobile transactions (Uber, etc.) Wallet may just have been launched too early, they may have educated the market rather than capitalized on it.
2. Existing credit card info - many consumers already give Apple their CC info and payments (iTunes). I can only think of a few examples where you pay Google (Adwords, Google Play) and they are less commonly used.
3. Hype factor - Apple has some magic when it comes to hyping consumer products and services. Google has some of this, but I don't think it's nearly as much, especially with the general population (i.e. non-developers).
A bit more on the timing: USA is finally switching to EMV based credit card payments (chip and pin) during this year and the next, meaning that most terminals will likely be able to accept NFC payments as well (Google Wallet, Apple Pay, whatever else that follows the spec)
Apple has three advantages. First, it's on iPhone, which is a ton of devices. Second, they already have your credit card because you've used it to buy apps or music, etc. Third, people will know this exists because of the media.
So if you get a new iPhone, you're ready to start using it almost immediately. I'm sure I'll use it.
With Android, Google has to get you to sign up for wallet and get you to know that you should want to. Plus you had to have a phone that supports it (I don't know how common that is among high end Android phones).
This is one of those situations where "just being Apple" is a huge advantage.
Yes and who cares? It still is not secure. Anyone who gains the virtual card number can use it and the merchant system can charge arbitrary amounts of money to it.
A payment system that wasn't cooked up by weirdos would include actual security features such as your phone's display shows the amount of the transaction and you enter pin or password or other knowledge and your phone signs the transaction. That would be nonrepudiable and you could clear such transactions at negligible cost because there's little risk.
Square, which isn't exactly winning out there, at least does include a modest security feature of displaying the picture of the authorized card user on the terminal.
I wasn't commenting on the security, just on the "blurts the magstripe information" comment. Apologies if you meant that metaphorically.
As for the rest of your comment, I don't think you're doing any risk modeling.
I have $0 fraud liability on all my cards. When fraud occurs, it takes a couple minutes to dispute a transaction. Even when it was a debit card, my credit union immediately gave me a provisional credit for the disputed amount while they investigated. The total cost to me for fraud is no more than a few minutes of my time. I have little reason to care about security.
Banks care about profit. What makes you think they haven't considered tighter security measures, and found that the cost of implementing them (including the inconvenience to consumers and resulting lost revenue) outweigh the savings from reduced fraud?
That doesn't make any sense, no. Instead, they skip the secure element and transmit something non-standard (...by buying a bank and routing those through that, essentially acting as a proxy to the card networks?):
I can only guess: but I believe that this will fly if the iPhone 6 is a hit, but it could really soar if the Apple Watch sells very well. Paying with something on my wrist seems more natural (slightly better UX?). If the products end up 'failing' (which for apple means sell like iPhone 5C) then this will just drag on like any product from an extremely large company like Google or Apple that just lives because they can push it on users.
If it means that someone here in the UK can finally pay for something somewhere with an NFC-capable phone, then good! Google Wallet has been US-only for years (and I think the UK promises about its arrival never materialised, unless I am wrong?)
In any case, hopefully this will force the industry to move forward, particularly on Android.
One interesting unrelated development: the US is moving to chip-and-PIN cards next year. Merchants that don't move over to the new system (in other words, those that still take signatures instead of having you do the chip-and-PIN thing) will be responsible for fraud that occurs in their stores... so merchants will switch.
If merchants are getting new credit card terminals anyhow, it seems likely they'd get NFC compatible ones.
I noticed that the Whole Foods near me just changed their credit card terminals a couple of weeks ago...
My Bank of America Visa recently expired, and the new one they sent me has what appears to be chip and pin. Weirdly, there is no information in the included pamphlet about the technology. I assume they're just preemptively putting the cards out there.
I have a Bank of America MasterCard that expired recently and they sent me a new card, but when you go to their information page about chip cards ( http://bankofamerica.com/chipcardfacts ) it seems pretty clear that it's actually chip and signature. They emphasize that if you get asked for a PIN, you should tell the merchant it only requires a signature.
I don't know enough about chip and PIN to say if it's possible, but I'm hoping that means they'll eventually move to adding a PIN too.
All that said -- my iPhone 5 is coming off contract in a few weeks now and I definitely plan on picking up an iPhone 6; I'm looking forward to seeing how well Pay works.
Stores are already installing them to conform to the upcoming chip and signature standard rolling out across the US. You can tap most of your credit cards instead of swiping at the small number of merchants that have rolled it out (McDonalds, Staples, etc).
Google Wallet required Carrier SIM support which forced consumers to actually go and get a SIM that supported it, as well as a handset that supported said SIM. Apple's solution does not require this and cuts MNO's out entirely
Microsoft is doing a big developer conference this week, and is announcing a lot of new stuff that HN finds interesting. When WWDC rolls around again, I'm sure there will be a ton of Apple stories on the front page.