It seems Google is about to connect the world a little bit more tightly, for better or worse. Google has already taken a great big stake in many aspects of our lives from being the voice of the internet to owning the operating system functioning in over half of the smartphones on the market; now reports are surfacing that the global conglomerate is ready to get into the personal identification business. Already available on their revamped App store Google Play, the Google Wallet ID app already has the function to download airport boarding passes, check in for a flight or provide ID to a police officer.
What implications would this move have on the SEO industry you may ask? Well with Google+, Gmail accounts and other applications Google is moving toward a more personalised system of targeting which makes thing a bit tougher on practices such as targeting keyword phrases of interest. Google Wallet ID could serve as one more measure for Google to track what users are after; imagine if you can having bought many pairs of shoes using your Google Wallet ID – it’s not unreasonable to think that you may see an increase in targeted advertising to you on the subject of shoes.
With these functions already prevalent, with enough time the hope (for Google at least) is that the application can earn enough trust with Governmental agencies to replace the paper or card-based ID altogether. This means that losing your ID will be linked to losing your phone or handheld device and that a replacement is as simple as a download without lining up at your Home Affairs or local municipality for a replacement. The paperless revolution is happening before our very eyes and soon Google would like to expand the functions of their Wallet ID application to feature driver’s licences, passports and other essential documents; the thought of combining all these documents into a single application is incredibly appealing, yet what are the risks? Would this mean that identity theft or fraud would become that little bit simpler for shady characters? That may very well be the case, but where the security concerns are greater, so too will the firewalls be put up.
All eyes will be on the Google Wallet application in the next few months as tech-savvy users can already store Mastercard, Visa, Discovery and American Express credit card details to the app and pay using them with a simple tap of their devices on scanners. Apple has already begun to plot a competing application dubbed the Passbook which will roll out around the same time as their iPhone 5 next month. However the uptake of both applications could be slow if the companies don’t quell the fears among their consumers about phone hacking and other nefarious risks such an application opens itself up to. One question, on my mind at least – Is it safe that our lives are so completely intertwined by the large and looming Google?