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In May, Google announced that its online and mobile payments solution Google Wallet would be integrated within Gmail in the coming months, but no exact time frame for the rollout was given. Now, it appears as if more users are gaining access to the Google Wallet in Gmail feature, as invitations are hitting Gmail inboxes.

These invites are arriving in Gmail’s new “Updates” tab. (Update: Originally, we were hearing they were arriving in the main inbox, but Google informs us this is not the case.)

Anyway, below is the example of what the invite looks like:

For those unfamiliar, Google Wallet is the company’s payments platform and answer to PayPal, which allows users to store their debit and credit cards in a secure service for easy access. Wallet can be used when shopping online, including on e-commerce websites, and within Android applications where virtual goods, in-app purchases, and even physical goods and services, are sold. On Android, an NFC-based Google Wallet mobile app allows for transactions at supported point-of-sale and other NFC-based terminals, but adoption there is limited due to mobile operators’ restrictions enacted because they invest in their own competitor called Isis. (Greed is why we can’t have nice things, folks).

With the announcement in May, Google informed us that it would soon offer another way for the payments service to be used – that is, within Gmail. A new dollar sign icon in Gmail will appear, allowing you to “attach money” to your message. The icon sits near the attachment paperclip icon and Google Drive icon for attaching files from the cloud in the new “Compose” experience in Gmail.

Since early beta testers could invite others to Google Wallet for Gmail by sending money, some came up with ingenious ways to invite others by sending small amounts – like a penny – to those who asked. But most of us simply waited for Google to send the invitation after registering our interest. These invites are arriving first to Google Wallet’s early adopters, before the feature is more broadly rolled out to all of Gmail’s user base.

After clicking on the “Get started” button in the invite, or heading directly to wallet.google.com/p2pAccess, you’ll have to confirm your identify in order to comply with U.S. financial regulations before being able to use Google Wallet in Gmail. This will involve providing your date of birth and last four of your Social Security Number, Google explains.

This verification process takes only a second or two, and then the new “attach money” icon will appear when you return to Gmail. (Note that users who have declined to upgrade to the new “Compose” interface in Gmail won’t have the option to send money until they make that switch.)

We reached out to Google to ask for more details as to the progress of the rollout itself, and the company explains that the invites arriving now are going to those who had previously signed up to receive the next version of Wallet at http://www.google.com/wallet.

It also appears that several users have been excited enough to post about their invitation’s arrival on Twitter. (I’m about to do the same.)


Google Wallet has hit some hurdles in recent months, following the departure of Google Wallet head Osama Bedier. Google also scrapped plans to launch its physical Google-branded payment card which had been tested as an alternative to NFC, but found to not be up to par by CEO Larry Page.

Wallet in Gmail gives the maligned service another way to grow – by tapping into a user base of some 425 million plus email users. However, Wallet for Gmail is only available to those over 18 and in the United States for now. Expansions to other parts of the world have yet to be announced.

Google’s mobile payment system, Google Wallet, is now available to the public – for people who use Sprint Nexus S 4G phones and Citi MasterCards or Visa cards at least. The near-field communication and contact-less payment system was expected to launch this summer.

Google Wallet – along with Google Offers – is built on an open platform that combines multiple credit cards, loyalty programs and offers at the point of sale. Payment is made by swiping your smartphone at checkout. Essentially, Google is turning your phone into your wallet.

The Google Wallet service must be associated with a Google account to begin using it. After agreeing to terms and conditions and entering a PIN, you can start the process of provisioning your cards to your account.

So far the service only works with Nexus S 4G phones on Sprint; people with these phones will receive over-the-air updates Monday and will see a new “Wallet” app. It also only works with Citi MasterCards and Google Prepaid Cards, which can be filled using any other credit card.

Update: Visa has announced that Visa customers can also use Google Wallet.

Eventually Discover and American Express will work with the app as well, Google said Monday.

The system made its debut in May and was tested in select markets. Just last week MasterCard, a launch partner, held another press event in New York City to show off other future-of-payment technologies, including the ability to make purchases by simply waving at your TV.

Shortly after Google revealed Google Wallet earlier this year, PayPal filed a lawsuit against Google and two former PayPal executives for sharing trade secrets. In the suit, PayPal claimed that former PayPal executive, now working at Google, Osama Bedier stole PayPal’s trade secrets and shared them with Google and other companies, and that another present Google employee and former PayPal exec, Stephanie Tilenius, violated her contract when she recruited Bedier.

Since the suit, PayPal told Mashable that it is preparing to release an update to the PayPal Mobile app that would let users make peer-to-peer payments using NFC.

Mobile carriers have also begun working on their own competitor to Google Wallet. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are reportedly investing millions in Isis, their own mobile payment project. So far Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have signed on to the service. It is expected to roll out sometime in 2012.

Google released the video below in May to promote Google Wallet.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZGoXvzW4WU

Google released the video below, featuring Seinfeld‘s George Costanza, in August.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKGptWtzeaU&feature=player_embedded