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On December 13, Google finally confirmed it has bought Zetawire, a Canadian startup designing a technology for mobile payments via smartphones using near field communications (NFC). NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over short (around 4'') distance.

At Web 2.0 Summit, last month, Google CEO Eric Shmidt stated that Android 2.3 would allow the phone to make purchases without using a credit card. So, it results that Google had already acquired Zetawire at that time. Ben Kolada, an analyst for The 451 Group, announced that Google got the startup in August. According to his words Zetawire had secured a patent and trademark covering banking, advertising, identity management, credit card and mobile coupon transaction processing. These technologies secure purchases via smartphones by swiping them against contact terminals.

Why did Google refuse to give any information about the deal? Maybe the reason was that its competitors, including Apple, RIM and Nokia, are all building NFC into their future handsets. Google might be planning other NFC capabilities that  we probably are going to be informed about soon. Meanwhile mobile payments via smartphones remain the big draw at this point.

Tags: Android, NFC, Zetawire

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