Live from the Google Wallet press conference!

Google has been working on a mobile payment service for quite some time now, and the company is finally ready to take the wraps off of the first iteration of its contactless payment product. Google has been buying up talent — and someone spilled the beans this past Tuesday — so we can’t say the announcement is likely to come as much of a surprise. Yes, Google is expected to finally take the wraps off its Google Wallet service, which will use NFC-based technology to allow consumers to pay for goods with their cell phones. According to reports, Google’s preliminary pilot will launch in partnership with Sprint, utilizing the NFC-equipped Google Nexus S 4G, and it will be available in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. to start. Want to know more? So do we… and we’ll be reporting all the action as it unfolds right here in this post. Hit the break for our liveblog of Google’s press conference, which will start just before 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and don’t forget to refresh the page often for the latest updates!

1:18PM:Ok guys, show’s over. Thanks for tuning in!

1:16PM:Google will be completely transparent with this service. “The consumer owns the data.” Consumers will also always have control over any data that is shared with anyone (ie, opt-in)

1:16PM:In terms of Offers data, Google will keep it and use it to deliver more personal offers to users.

1:15PM:Who has the rights to the data this service will collect? The data is owned by the consumer, and each of the respective partners. Bank data stays with your bank. It’s never shared and never routed, and that convenient is never broken.

1:13PM:What happens if a phone’s battery dies? “I think you’ll need to use your plastic,” Google joked. The answer, by the way, is you’re SOL. Payments can’t be made if the phone is powered off.

1:11PM:(and the Google Wallet app is free)

1:11PM:How does Google make money on this? Google is in it to create the ecosystem, and it won’t charge transaction fees. It will make money on the offers and other value-adds.

1:10PM:Users will not need to input the pin to use Google Wallet’s non-payment functions. Loyalty cards, deals, etc can be used any time as long as the phone is on.

1:07PM:50% of the phones sold in the last 6 months were powered by Android, and Google plans to work with partners to get NFC in all Android phones.

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1:06PM:What about non-Google phones? Google is open to working with any other manufacturers and it will also supply NFC stickers to phones without integrated chips.

1:05PM:What happens if you lose your phone? Google can deprovision all of the cards on the wallet remotely. Also, the card numbers are not accessible – they’re stored on the secure NXP NFC chip and cannot be accessed.

1:03PM:Highlights from the Q&A will be posted as appropriate… First and foremost, Google will not be collecting an interchange fee on these transactions.

1:01PM:That’s it folks! We’re doing a Q&A session now.

1:01PM:The service is being field tested now, and it will launch this summer.

1:01PM:Ok, we’re on to the recap now… Google Wallet blends online and offline, and it helps merchants build stronger relationships with customers.

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12:59PM:Retailers collectively seem excited about the product because of the cutting edge tech, but also because it simplifies the checkout process and speeds things up.

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12:58PM:We’re wrapping things up now, it appears. We’re going to watch a video featuring Google’s retail partners that will be involved with Google Wallet from day 1. Subway, American Eagle, Walgreens, The Container Store, and more.

12:56PM:The Nexus S 4G is one of Sprint’s top-selling phones, Adib said.

12:56PM:Sprint is excited to be one of the first carrier partners to be involved with Google Wallet. The carrier will work with its OEM partners in adding NFC to more devices, but the Nexus S 4G is the first phone to work with the platform.

12:54PM:Adib is discussing Sprint’s strong partnership with Google – with the Nexus S 4G, and even services, such as Sprint’s unique Google Voice integration.

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12:53PM:Farid Abib from Sprint is on stage now. (sorry, WiFi died briefly)

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12:51PM:80% of the POS systems in the US are provided by First Data, and 50% of transactions are processed by the company.

12:50PM:First data is one of the largest payment processing companies in the business. It processes 40 billion transactions each year.

12:48PM:Ed Labry, President of First Data is on stage now. He says the introduction of NFC payment systems integrated with mobile was an inevitability, it was just a question of who would innovate and bring it to market.

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12:47PM:NFC payments offer a fundamentally better experience, and consumers will never be able to go back once the try it.

12:46PM:Mastercard is leading the way in the design, standards and certification process for mobile payments.

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12:46PM:Ed McLaughlin from Mastercard is on stage now. “Mastercard is at the heart of commerce,” and being involved with this project was imperative for the company.

12:44PM:We’re just at the starting point of mobile payments’ capabilities. Today’s announcement will be looked at as the inflection point – this tech is going from concept to reality.

12:43PM:Citi is announcing this collaboration for one reason: to help enhance and simplify the shopping experience for its customers.

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12:42PM:Banking, technology and information are increasingly converging. Google Wallet provides Citi customers with a new, state of the art experience and Citi is proud to be at the forefront of this innovation.

12:40PM:Digital money and mobile payments are hugely important to Citi. The bank is a global leader in payments – including digital.

12:39PM:A Citibank VP is on stage now. Citi is proud to be the first bank to join Google on Google Wallet.

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12:38PM:Google said credit cards, loyalty cards, etc are obvious. The company eventually wants users to be able to put everything they would put into a standard wallet into Google Wallet, digitally.

12:36PM:Google is reemphasizing its open invitation. This is just the beginning – Google wants banks, retailers and others to join in developing for this new open platform.

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12:34PM:Now we’re watching a quick promo video Google put together that showcases some scenarios where the service can be used.

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12:33PM:Another very cool feature: we’re now seeing a demo with billboards, in malls for example, that have built-in NFC. A user with a Nexus S can walk by, tap the banner, and any related offers will be transferred to their Google Wallet.

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12:31PM:Google’s service will launch will gift cards, loyalty cards and more. Coming this fall, Google will also add a digital receipt feature to eliminate the need for paper receipts.

12:30PM:Jonathan Wall, one of the founding engineers of this project is on stage now to discuss Google’s one-tap functionality (which is also a first in the space).

12:29PM:One swipe of the Nexus S register’s the loyalty card, any applicable offers or coupons, and the payment information.

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12:27PM:American Eagle, a launch partner, is now here to demo an actual transaction using a live POS.

12:27PM:Google Wallet can also hold loyalty cards, such as supermarket cards or other store loyalty cards.

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12:26PM:Now we’re watching Google Offers in action. Offers can be added directly from a Google search and linked to your account. They’ll then be applied to Google Wallet purchases automatically.

12:24PM:The NXP chip is only on (usable) when the Wallet app is unlocked to prevent unauthorized access and usage.

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12:23PM:In terms of hardware, Google is using a secure NXP chip that includes multi-level security features on the hardware and software sides.

12:22PM:A Google engineer is now on stage discussing security.

12:22PM:A cool feature: Google Wallet functionality can work without even opening the app. It must be set up in preferences, but users will be able to pay with their phones without even opening the app. Very nifty.

12:21PM:Google has enabled multiple cards in a single secure element, which is an industry first. Similar solutions can only be linked to one card.

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12:20PM:Users who don’t want to add a credit card can use a Google Prepaid card, which can be funded outside of the Wallet app using any major credit card.

12:19PM:Once a credit card is added, you can only use $100 until it is verified.

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12:19PM:He’s now covering the security involves with the initial provisioning process. First Data is Google’s security partner.

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12:17PM:Next, you can add a credit card — obviously and important step — and then you’re ready to go.

12:16PM:The first thing you have to do when opening the app is attach it to a Google account and enter a PIN.

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12:16PM:He’s now demoing the service on stage.

12:15PM:Google has announced a grand vision, but this is also a real product that is already up and running — not just an idea.

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12:15PM:Google Wallet will eventually support more than just credit cards. Osama Bedier, Google’s VP of Payments is here to explain,

12:14PM:Google Offers will also be integrated with a variety of existing Google Services.

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12:13PM:Google Offers, the second product being announced today, is exactly what it sounds like. Offers are delivered based on location and preferences, and the pilot will go live in Portland and New York initially.

12:12PM:Macy’,s Subway, Walgreens and more will be retail partners right out the gate.

12:12PM:The service is extremely secure — it works with Mastercard’s paypass service and has a number of security measures.

12:11PM:For funding, Google Wallet currently supports multiple credit cards as well as a prepaid Google card.

12:10PM:By 2014, 150 million smartphones will be NFC enabled. This poses a tremendous opportunity for Google’s partners.

12:10PM:Google Wallet trials begin today, and the product will launch this summer.

12:10PM:Google says it’s just getting started and this is only beginning. Google is teaming up with Citi, Mastercard and Sprint on this initial offering, but more partrners are coming.

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12:09PM:Google’s combination of services will apply coupons and discounts at the point of sale automatically. Very cool and effortless.

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12:07PM:2011 will begin the age of “mobile local commerce.”

12:07PM:Google’s VP of Commerce is back now.

12:06PM:Over half of US mobile phone users have already used their phones to research and make purchases. That is why Mastercard is so excited to work with Google on Google Wallet and Google Offers.

12:05PM:Over 300,000 merchant locations is the US are already compatible with Google’s NFC-based services.

12:05PM:A Mastercard VP is on stage now, discussing the company’s leadership in the NFC space. Mastercard was one of the first companies to begin trialling NFC in the US.

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12:04PM:…and Google hopes to be a driving force during that boom.

12:03PM:Mobile payments will grow four-fold between now and 2014.

12:03PM:Google is “about to embark on a new era of commerce,” merging the offline and online worlds.

12:02PM:Over 70% of consumers transact online. Even still, eCommerce only accounts for 8% of total commerce.

12:02PM:Amazon and eBay started the eCommerce boom in the 90s, and the market will continue to grow as offline companies go online.

12:01PM:“Your phone will be your wallet. Just tap, pay and save.”

12:00PM:Google’s offers and payment platforms will be open.

12:00PM:Google has just announced Google Wallet and Google Offers. The company has issued an open invitation to banks and retailers to partner on both services.

11:59AM:Ok guys, Google’s VP of Commerce is on stage to kick things off.

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11:55AM:Beyond Container Store, we’ve just confirmed that Subway is also going to be a launch partner for the Google Wallet service. Five dollar footlong, anyone?

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11:53AM:We’ve been asked to turn off our phones (and video recording isn’t permitted). Things should get started in about 5 minutes.

11:52AM:Google hasn’t confirmed anything since the event hasn’t started yet, but we’re surrounded by reps from various banks. 1 + 1 = …

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11:44AM:Ok guys, we’re inside and seated. Things look to be moving along well so hopefully we’ll start on time in about 15 minutes.

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