Google+, NFC and consumer adoption

Google+ with NFC, photo by Ridzuan Ashim

If you are one of the handful of people worldwide that both has a Nexus S and made it into the Google+ beta then you too can check out the NFC tag reading and Google+ sharing capabilities spotted in the wild by software developer Ridzuan Ashim. The Google+ integration points towards Google’s continued efforts to influence consumer behavior around the general use of NFC technology.

Engadget breaks down the process:

“After scanning, the OS asks you if you want to share the associated text with Google+ or another relevant program. Though the abilities seem somewhat limited for now, we’ll likely see more developer support tossed in as the service matures. Using NFC in this way could lead us into a group Huddle, check us in at a restaurant and share it with our Circles, and perhaps even add us into somebody’s Circle or Hangout.”

I am in Google+ but don’t have a Nexus S so, like most people I have to rely on a video to see it in action.

Google is leading the charge for changing consumer behavior around the use of NFC.  According to a recent (2010) study by UK research firm Datamonitor, consumers have a long way to go to get interested in using NFC at all, much less for transactions.  According to the Datamonitor study, fewer than 2% of consumers are likely to use NFC for transactions when the service is introduced.

From NFC Times:

“While the hype continues to grow, and the breathless PR statements of excited executives enter into circulation, little attention has seemingly been paid to who are the consumers most likely to adopt NFC,” said the firm in its report. “While mobile phone technology has progressed rapidly over several years, and Internet usage increasingly becomes mobile, this does not necessarily mean that consumers are clamoring for NFC.”

The research firm based its predictions of how likely consumers are to adopt NFC on three indicators–how much the consumers now use mobile banking and contactless cards or are interested in these technologies and how frequently they use conventional payment cards to make retail payments.

“The market faces significant hurdles in convincing issuers, consumers, and merchants of its benefits,” said firm in a statement. “The business case remains ill-defined for both issuers and merchants, while consumers will need a strong proposition to shift them from existing, readily available payment tools. Without all of these elements in place, the deployment and wider development of NFC will be difficult.”

Enter teh Google?

“Gilles Ubaghs, senior analyst for cards and payments at Datamonitor. told NFC Times he believes NFC payment service providers will need to offer longer-term incentives, including couponing and loyalty.

“Google Offers, with its automatic loading of offers onto the handset, strikes me as quite a strong move,” he said.”

Additional information from RRW:

“A couple of these features are already in the works, as it turns out. The blog recently found that the Android application offers a feature called “Google Check-ins,” accessed by tapping the checkmark icon on the “Stream” page of the Android app. This feature is built on top of Google’s location-based service Latitude, which introduced check-ins in February, but lacks the Latitude branding, it seems. Users who check in by way of this service can post that check in directly to their stream on Google Plus, limiting its visibility by Circles (groups), if desired. Google Check-ins would be Google’s direct counterpart to Facebook’s Places, and could easily be NFC-enabled in the future.

Putting it all together, it becomes clear that the current NFC support discovered in the Google Plus Android app is only the beginning. Future updates to the app could expand the support to enable things like NFC-based check-ins, or NFC smart posters that link to business pages. Oh wait, Google already has those. It makes sense that this could then be tied into the Google Plus service, like so:

Tap a poster, visit the Google Place page, check in at the business, share to Google Plus.

Yes, that would work.”

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.


  1. Nexus S Enables the NFC Secure Element | thinkd2c - July 7, 2011

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