Google is joining the race to dominate the mobile payment market in partnership with MasterCard, Citibank, Sprint and various retailers. The company will announce Thursday a "mobile wallet" service available for now only on the Google Nexus S that will enable users to make contactless payments on MasterCard PayPass terminals using near-field-communication (N.F.C.) technology, reports Bloomberg News. The program will launch in five cities--New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C--this summer, and at least three major retailers--Macy's, American Eagle and Subway--will feature the payment system alongside customer rewards programs, according to The New York Times.
Obviously, Apple is going to be upset by the announcement that Google will beat them to market. Bloomberg reported in January that Steve Jobs and his crew had been working on integrating N.F.C. technology into the iPhone and iPad in an effort to grab a share of $6.2 trillion American consumers spend every year. The company hired a mobile payment guru and applied for a patent on N.F.C. technology for Apple apps to communicate with each other but have yet to announce a plan. The Apple fan blog, Cult of Mac, speculates this morning that Apple's mobile wallet is unlikely to be unveiled before 2012.