Google Launching Mobile Pay-By-Phone Service

Google is unveiling a new service Thursday that will enable users of its Nexus S smartphone to pay for their purchases at certain retailers by waving their phones at the cash register, according to several news reports.

The new service will rely on a technology called near field communication that enables the phones to transmit data over short distances.People in New York and San Francisco will be the first to enjoy the service, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal also reports that Macy’s, American Eagle Outfitters and the Subway fast-food chain will be among the stores that will outfit their stores with the readers needed to enable the new system.

The tech industry has long talked about enabling this capability, but Google and its partners, it appears, will be the first to make it a reality in the United States.

Erica Ogg at CNET has a good explainer as to why it’s taken so long to bring this technology to market (co-ordination between several different industries is needed.)

Wired.comhas a helpful FAQ on what near field communication is, why it’s important, and who the big players are in the mobile payment space.

If you’re really excited about the announcement, you can watch a live blog of the event over at CNET‘s mobile technology blog called Signal Strength.