Google NFC payment & ad system could launch this year tip insiders

Google's NFC contactless payment ambitions have leaked, with sources supposedly close to the project suggesting that the payment and advertising system could launch as early as sometime this year. According to BusinessWeek's sources, the system would be built on top of Android, which added native NFC support in the recent 2.3 Gingerbread release.

That OS is running on the Nexus S, Google's second own-brand Android smartphone, and the only Android device on the market presently with NFC. As we've suggested before, part of Google's intention with the Nexus S is to encourage other manufacturers of Android smartphones to fit NFC, just as the Nexus One did with high-speed mobile processors.

The NFC payment plans would be use Google acquisition Zetawire, a start-up which developed an e-wallet system called Walleto. The search giant also has investments in mobile-payment companies. Back in November, Google's Andy Rubin suggested that one day users would "be able to walk in a store and do commerce. You'd bump for everything and eventually replace credit cards." Google has declined to comment on these specific payment rumors.