updated 06:50 pm EDT, Fri September 17, 2010
Google Checkout integration also expected
Google is reportedly preparing to equip a number of small businesses with mobile devices that can be used for social networking purposes and checkins, unnamed sources have told TechCrunch. The devices could potentially be used by customers for rating the businesses or finalizing purchases via Google Checkout.
The company appears to be gearing up for direct competition with existing services such as Facebook, Yelp and Foursquare. The high-profile launch is said to include 8 million devices distributed to a long list of companies.
Google has yet to confirm the reports or hint at a set of specific features. It remains unclear if the company will attempt to eventually profit from hardware sales or other aspects of the services, although the first devices are expected to be offered for free.