WITHIN A YEAR we will all be tapping our phones against things to pay for other things, according to Google's elder statesman Eric Schmidt.
Schmidt is backing near field communications (NFC), of course, and why wouldn't he? Google went big on the technology and its application to Android phones and home entertainment at its recent I/O conference, and it even launched its own virtual wallet.
Now, in a discussion at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Schmidt has taken the opportunity to discuss the technology and why he reckons we will all be tap dancing our way through the cash register checkout lines by 2012.
So much business will be done by a wave of the handset, according to the former Google CEO, that it will be a trillion dollar industry driven by people seeing adverts and impulse buying based on them, as long as the bulk of businesses also get behind the technology.
"That money is going to be spent not by Google and not by the phone guys but by the credit card companies, because the fraud rates are so much lower," he said, according to a report at the Financial Times.
Although Schmidt was unable to say exactly when this will occur, he managed to pin it down to the next months. Or years. Or, well, eventually.
"Nobody knows how quickly this will occur but it's in their interests to convert as fast as they humanly can," he said. "I judge that based on how long I think it takes, because the terminals are available now, the software is available now or this summer. How long does it take an infrastructure player to upgrade a significant percentage of their infrastructure - it's on the order of a year, it's not a week, it's not a month but it's also not five years... It's an educated guess."
Currently Google has announced only US carriers for its e-wallet service and Google Offers, which is a complimentary service that lets users use their handsets to apply retail discounts. A European launch is presumably imminent, so we thank Schmidt for his reminder that it exists. µ
Beta go give it a whirl
Your 2 Unlimited records never sounded (so) good
That's, um, £2,906 over two years
He also stands accused of taping songs off the radio and jaywalking