by Gary Strauss and Jon Swartz
Sept 22, 2011
Facebook's latest move is testing the patience of its friends.
The world's most popular social-media site, which is making a habit of making changes and tweaks with little or no advance warning to its 750 million users, set off tons of dislikes Wednesday, angering many with a redesign that alters the look and feel of its popular profile pages.
News stories under Facebook's News Feed now top the pages instead of fresh posts from friends. Event reminders such as birthdays and friend requests are squished under a ticker-like function, part of a broader effort to give more of a real-time feel à la Twitter and upstart rival Google+, which opened its invitation-only social network to the public Tuesday. There also are newly designated categories for "close" friends, family, co-workers and others.
The pitch to consumers is convenience: an app that promises to help save time and, through loyalty rewards and digital coupons, money. You can store and sync up redeemable Google discount offers inside the Wallet.
I've used the Nexus S to pay at 7-Eleven and Subway, as well from the back seat of a taxicab. The tap-and-pay process is simple. The phone incorporates Near Field Communications or NFC, a short-range wireless technology that makes secure transactions possible.
The Google Wallet app on my test phone was funded by a prepaid Google debit card. Google is encouraging usage, for the time being, by issuing a $10 credit on the card. You can add to the total via any plastic credit card, starting at a $20 minimum. Citi MasterCard holders can use a digital replica of that card. (Don't worry, the full account number isn't displayed.) Eventually you'll be able to use other credit cards. You'll also be able to add favorite loyalty and gift cards to the app. Initially, that feature is limited to American Eagle Outfitters.
For now you can make "tap-and-go" payments at merchants who accept the MasterCard PayPass Network. There are some 140,000 PayPass locations in the U.S., and Google includes a PayPass finder inside the app. Google also has announced licensing arrangements with Visa, Discover and American Express and will add those payment networks to Google Wallet. (Google won't disclose timing.)
Acceptance will take time
Of course, Google Wallet and other initiatives to turn your cellphone into a digital billfold are in their earliest stages. People have paid with cold cash or plastic for generations. Educating the public and merchants about mobile payments will take time.
Google must also make the Wallet app available to other handsets. For the moment, Sprint's Nexus S is the only phone capable of exploiting the Wallet service, though more NFC-capable devices are coming.
And while Google Wallet arguably represents the most ambitious mobile payment initiative to date, it isn't the only one. The ISIS network, formed by the wireless carriers AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, is cooking up its own digital wallet. I already buy coffee from time to time with a prepaid Starbucks card app on my iPhone. I've also tried the free Card Case app from start-up Square. Intuit and PayPal are also in the game. (Not all these efforts involve NFC technology.)
Setting up the Google Wallet account involves creating a four-digit PIN that can help protect the phone should it be lost or stolen. Entering the wrong PIN five times wipes the Wallet clean. You don't have to be connected to a cellphone network, however, nor do you have to open the Google Wallet app to pay.
If prompted at checkout, you are asked to choose to "pay by credit." And then you just tap the back of the phone against the terminal to complete the payment. In some cases you may have to re-enter your PIN, and in some cases the retailer may ask you to sign your name.
At CVS I had to present my physical CVS loyalty card to earn further discounts. It will be a lot more convenient when such loyalty cards are stored inside the Wallet.
I was handed paper receipts each time I made a purchase. Google Wallet records a history of "events" inside the app that signify when you used the prepaid Google card and (in some cases) the approximate location where you completed the transaction. Alas, the name of the merchant and the amount paid does not appear.
Google says refunds are handled as with any prepaid card. But though the CVS clerk told me my refund request went through when I tapped the phone against the PayPass terminal, the refund credit never showed up on the prepaid card inside the app. Google says that can take up to a week.
Some day lots of people may pay for stuff through the Google Wallet or similar ventures. But rest assured you'll carry plastic cards and physical wallets for quite some time to come.
Learn more about Search Engine Optimization, the most effective form of online advertising.
Search Engine Marketing is the fastest growing advertising medium in the world, projected to become 10x more powerful and influential than traditional media outlets such as: network television, cable television, local television, network radio, local radio, satellite radio, national newspapers, local newspapers, magazines, billboards, direct mail, telemarketing and more.
Discover the most powerful and effective form of advertising, Search Engine Optimization.
An aside for consideration are the segments of Search Engine Optimization. Clarification is required in terms of paid search marketing, sponsored search advertising, pay per click, email marketing (spam), and the foundation of strategic internet marketing: Organic Search Engine Optimization - Organic SEO in some circles also referred to as Natural Search Engine Optimization - Natural SEO.
Key Organic Search Engine Optimization Facts:
- Keyword search is the 2nd most popular online activity, rapidly approaching the popularity of email retrieval.
- 90% of all new website visitors are delivered by a major search engine and/or directory.
- 98% of all keyword search activity results are powered by the big 4 search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL.
- Keyword search results on Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL are all determined by a search engine spider and/or robot crawler.
- Recent internet marketing studies confirm that keyword searchers prefer the organic results at a 6 to 1 ratio vs. pay-per-click sponsored search advertising listings.
Is your corporate website being found early and often on the keywords and keyword phrases that best describe your products, services and industry?
Harness the power that our proven organic search engine optimization technologies can provide...
Contact the Peak Positions Organic SEO consulting specialists today.
Learn more about our client roster, one of the strongest in the SEO industry, and more importantly discover why our client-focused Organic Search Engine Optimization company maintains the highest client retention rate in the SEO industry.
"Our year over year order anniversary flowers revenues are climbing rapidly in a timid economy. If you are looking for an excellent SEO Company, we suggest Peak Positions" ...
SEO Case Study