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Google Wallet functionality expanding to counter Apple's Passbook


Google has revealed plans to enhance its Wallet service with location-aware store cards, boarding passes and event tickets, much like the Passbook feature found in Apple's forthcoming iOS 6 iPhone update.

New features planned for the Google Wallet software found in the Android mobile operating system were revealed in a developer video posted to YouTube. As noted by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Google plans to expand its Wallet functionality beyond just payment cards.

"One of the things we're trying to do is make it easy for airlines, transit providers, and other types of issuers of credentials to make it super simple for them to get their credentials stored in the Wallet," Dua said. "That's the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device."

Google first launched its near-field communication payment service last May, and since then a number of Android-based handsets and tablets have hit the market with NFC chips for mobile contactless transactions.

There have been rumors for years that Apple has shown interest in including an NFC chip in the iPhone. However, this week it was said that Apple will not include an NFC chip in its next-generation iPhone, quashing speculation that the company could offer NFC e-wallet functionality with a new iPhone and Passbook in iOS 6.

Passbook has been highlighted by Apple as a "key feature" in iOS 6, set to debut this fall. The company has described the new native iOS software as "your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more now all in one place."

While Google Wallet relies on NFC for mobile payments, Apple's Passbook is driven by location awareness, and will quickly provide users with store cards and other applicable items for nearby businesses. Google's developer video reveals the company now plans to add similar location-aware features to its Wallet service, allowing it to compete more directly with Passbook.