updated 06:35 pm EDT, Thu March 31, 2011
Google joins NFC Forum as Places goes NFC-only
Google made two big pushes towards NFC that culminated in its formal link to the technology on Thursday. It officially joined the NFC Forum as a principal member and now had the same importance as companies like CSR and Intel, which raised their statuses to the same level. The sign-up gave Google voting power for decisions on marketing, standards, and the technology involved in implementing NFC in the future.
As a principal, it doesn't have as much power as full-fledged sponsors such as Microsoft, Nokia, or Samsung, but it has more input than basic associates.
It followed just a day after the company confirmed that it was dropping QR codes from its Google Places tags for shops. Future tags would only come in the NFC version. A spokesperson said it was "exploring new ways" to let users find information from their phones.
The decision is potentially limiting as only one Android phone, Google's own Nexus S, is likely to work properly with the short-range wireless tags. Other Android 2.3 devices like the Xperia Play won't necessarily have NFC.
All of the moves still show an increasing level of commitment to NFC from Google that likely heralds an attempt to corner the market before competing standards arrive. The search giant is due to trial a payment system with Citigroup later this year and bought Zetawire to get an experienced team for NFC payments.
Apple, which isn't part of the NFC Forum, is still rumored to be adding NFC to the iPhone 5 and may use it not just for purchases, including those linked to iTunes, but to integrate with computers.