Google is one of 32 companies to recently join the NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that has been advancing the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology since its founding in 2004.
Google is joining the organization as a Principal member, while CSR and Intel have also raised their membership status to that level (they were formerly Associate Members). The full NFC Forum member list is available here.
To explain what it means to be a Principal member of the NFC Forum, allow me to quote straight from the press release:
Principal membership is the second-highest level of membership in the NFC Forum, with each Principal member entitled to appoint a voting representative to each of the Technical, Marketing, and Compliance Committees and Working Groups.
Principal members may designate individuals to run for positions leading Committees or Working Groups, and they may propose initiatives and contribute to the development of Forum deliverables. As Principal members, organizations may also participate in the NFC Forum testing and certification program using their own in-house test labs.
As Near Field Communications World points out, that last part is crucial because it allows principal members to effectively use their own in-house facilities to conduct NFC Forum certification testing rather than having to send devices out to third-party testing facilities.
NFC, a standards-based connectivity technology, enables people to make transactions, exchange digital content and connect electronic devices with a simple touch. NFC is said to be compatible with hundreds of millions of contactless cards and readers already deployed worldwide.
The Wall Street Journal earlier this week reported that Google has teamed up with MasterCard and Citigroup to embed NFC technology in Android handsets, thus enabling consumers to easily make payments with their smartphones.
Retailers could use the data gathered by using NFC as one’s electronic wallet in order to send better targeted ads to users and even offer discounts to nearby mobile users.
Google is already supporting NFC chips in Android phones such as the Nexus S and is expected to roll out tests of wave-and-pay systems at stores in New York City and San Francisco in partnership with VeriFone Systems and ViVOtech.
Google tellingly also killed support for QR codes in its Places product some time last week.
Other companies that have recently joined the NFC Forum as Associate members include Daimler, Hitachi and Kovio. The NFC Forum’s Sponsor members, which hold seats on the board of directors, include companies like Microsoft, MasterCard, NEC, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Visa, Samsung and Sony.
For your further reading pleasure:
So Why Should You Care About NFC? (CrunchGear)