Mobile

Google Wallet quietly launches today (updated)

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Google Wallet, the search company’s long-awaited mobile payments platform, has seemingly launched today with little fanfare.

TechCrunch yesterday reported on documentation being sent to Google Wallet partners indicating a September 19 launch. And this morning, Gigaom posted a photo of a Google Wallet payment module at a Peet’s Coffee Shop in San Francisco, which allows customers to swipe their Wallet-enabled Android phones to make purchases.

This is likely just a soft launch, or a small roll-out of Google Wallet to some choice retail partners. Google has yet to say anything about an official Google Wallet launch date, and it hasn’t acknowledged any major launch today, but the company has slightly updated its Google Wallet website. Update: Google officially announced the Wallet launch in a blog post this afternoon. The company says that it’s also working with Visa, American Express, and Discover to implement support for their NFC credit cards.

Google has been field testing Wallet at select retailers over the past few months, and it previously stated that the service would officially launch sometime in the summer. At first glance, the Wallet module appears to be just a rebranded MasterCard PayPass module for NFC (near-field communications) equipped credit cards.

Right now, only the Nexus S 4G on Sprint is compatible with Google Wallet. An update to the Nexus S 4G is rolling out today that will allow them to work with Wallet. The company also previously showed off NFC stickers that can be fixed to Android phones, making them compatible with Wallet.

Photo via GigaOm