Google Wallet launching today?
Looks like it. This is the Near Field Communications (NFC) system that Google first announced last spring. The idea is that you load up your phone with money, essentially, and wave it at a special reader. That way you never have to get your wallet out. TechCrunch and GigaOm both have screen shots indicating that today is launch day.
However, there are a few barriers to entry to get Google Wallet running. For one, users need the Android-based Nexus S smartphone, which has an NFC chip in it. In addition, the service is only available with MasterCard's PayPass system. According to the Google Wallet site, the service will work with Citi MasterCard credit cards and the Google PrePaid Card. In addition, Google Wallet can store "gift cards from participating merchants," Google says.
Still, this could be the first in-the-wild tryout for this thing.