Google Wallet is now live

The first public version of the Google Wallet app is being sent out to Sprint customers via an over-the-air software update today.

Google Wallet
OUT NOW: Google Wallet on a Nexus S

Google has started sending out the first version of the highly anticipated Google Wallet app to all Sprint Nexus S 4G users via an over-the-air software update.

Google Wallet is an NFC mobile wallet app that can be used to make ‘tap to pay’ payments, replace loyalty cards and as a coupon delivery, management and redemption tool. Later, promises the search giant, users will be able to store tickets, transit passes and other items usually found in a conventional wallet in the app too. Google has made a video showing the app in action:

“Our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets,” says Google vice president of payments Osama Bedier in a blog post introducing the service.

“When we announced Google Wallet, we pledged a commitment to an open commerce ecosystem,” continues Bedier. “We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners. And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet.”

Initially Google Wallet is available only to customers of one US mobile network who have a particular phone model — the Nexus S 4G —  and users are expected to have a Citi Mastercard account as well. For those without a Citi Mastercard, a Google-branded prepaid Mastercard can be set up instead.

The company does make clear, though, that “this is still just the beginning, and while we’re excited about this first step, we look forward to bringing Google Wallet to more phones in the future.”

To drive rapid adoption, the company will be adding a US$10 bonus to the users’ Google Prepaid Cards if they are set up in Google Wallet before the end of the year.

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