Google acquires mobile payments company Zetawire

google nexus s phone goes on sale december 16  dec 2010Terms of the deal, along with when the acquisition plans began are unknown, however, the acquisition was concluded in August. This coincides with the acquisition of both social apps company Slide and social currency company Jambool.

This information was revealed by tech analyst firm 451 Group, which saw the disclosure in a notice from Zetawire’s law firm, Fenwick and West, which mentioned the acquisition.

Zetawire was in the early stages of development, but 451 Group has uncovered that the startup was granted a patent for “mobile banking, advertising, identity management, credit card and mobile coupon transaction processing”. That’s the secret sauce needed for turning a smart phone into a credit card, so there doesn’t seem to be much question as to why Google would want to purchase that technology.

Google has been hard at work in the area of NFC (near-field communications). These are the same chips you’ll find inside your credit card. The latest Android, the Nexus S, is the first phone to include an NFC chip, and that is what is required to go forward with mobile payments.

There are a great many possibilities available combining Zetawire’s technology with Google. It’s entirely possible that Google may be planning to use Zetawire and NFC to track clicking on a mobile ad to payment, giving retailers greater insight into where and how their customers buy.

The NFC war is officially on and phone carriers are scrambling to get NFC chips installed on their new phones. It’s reported that Apple will include an NFC chip in the upcoming iPhone.

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