Google launches "Google Wallet" NFC mobile payment system (Updated)

“In the past few thousand years, the way we pay has changed just three times“”from coins, to paper money, to plastic cards.
Now we‘re on the brink of the next big shift”

This is the way Google envisions the its new service to switch your wallet to your phone. The idea is pretty simple – instead of carrying several cards like credit cards, loyalty cards etc, your phone will store virtual versions of these cards, and enable you to pay (and get relevant loyalty point) using your phone’s built in Near Field Communications Chip (NFC).
Simply tap your phone on the relevant contactless enabled PIN pad – and the payment goes through. Once the payment goes through the relevant loyalty points are added as well. As an added bonus Google will sync its current Google Offers to your phone. Imagine that – your “wallet” tells you where you can get a good deal right now.
As part of Google Wallet’s marketing campaign, Google used a brilliant scene of Seinfeld to show off the first obvious benefit of Google Wallet: A thinner wallet:

A revolutionary idea like this is obviously a massive undertaking. Right now it is only available on one specific model of the Nexus S in the US, but expect roll-out on other handsets as well. No word on worldwide roll-out right now, but with Mastercard’s backing expect it sooner than later. Update: VISA also announced that they are onboard with Google Wallet. The problem is that NFC is currently is still considered a bit of gold rush with everybody trying to partner with different payment gateways, and only time will tell which system might win at the end.

Right now Google and RIM have started showing off NFC features on its next generation handsets, but Apple (in its typical secret ways) is yet to show what they have been working on…