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Nexus 7 Now Supports Google Wallet

Over on Google+, the Google Wallet team has announced that the service will be made available via the Android 4.1.1 update that's currently being pushed to the Nexus 7 tablet. With this app, owners will be able to whip out the gadget, and tap it against a compatible Google Wallet device to make a payment. The drawback (outside using a 7-inch device) is that users will need a stored MasterCard, Google Prepaid card, or a gift card. Sorry, no Visa for you.

To make a purchase, Nexus 7 owners simply wake the device -- actually loading the Google Wallet app is not necessary. If prompted at checkout, select the "pay with credit" option on the terminal. To tap and pay, hold the back of the device against the terminal. The default card will be used unless another card is manually selected. If necessary, enter the Google Wallet pin on the device and tap the terminal again.

As to where this new feature can be used, locations are currently minimal until most retailers jump on board. Here locally, outlets like CVS, Rite Aid, Whole Foods, BP, Petco, and a few others support the new feature. The ratio is undoubtedly larger in the larger metropolitan areas, but don't get too overly excited about paying with a tablet just yet.

NFC technology on a whole is just now getting started, so minimal support is expected. Intel, Google and MasterCard have been huge proponents in the NFC sector, seemingly pushing the smartphone and ultrabook industry to become tap-and-pay capable. On the smartphone side, the general consensus is that users have their smartphone in hand when checking out at the register, making it easier to use than having to dig through a wallet or purse to find the credit card.

Is this method more secure? Only if the user secures the device with a PIN, pattern or face-based lock. Yet even if a thief managed to steal an NFC device and slip past the secured point of entry, Google will lock the account if there are signs of foul play. The only way to unlock the account and make additional purchases -- and this is based on personal experience after someone hacked the Google account and used a stored credit card to make Google Voice calls -- is to supply government-issued identification (driver's license) and billing address information (utility bill, etc).

That said, whipping out a credit card may be the simplest route. Still, with checks a thing of the past and cash now rarely used, NFC devices may eventually replace those plastic cards we've come to know and love for decades.