Google Inc. has filed a patent that would allow users to pay for goods from vending machines and retailers -- as well as make larger payments -- via text message, or SMS (short message service) technology.
U.S. Patent 2007/0203836, called "Text message payment," was published last Thursday by Google engineer Ramy Dodin. The invention, dubbed Gpay in the supporting drawings, is described as "a computer-implemented method of effectuating a payment, comprising: receiving at a computer server system a text message from a payor containing a payment request comprising a payment amount sent by a payor device operating independently of the computer server system; debiting a payor account for an amount corresponding to the amount of the payment request; and crediting a payee account that is independent of the computer server system."
According to the drawings, users could use Gpay to make payments to various retailers, doctors or even their landscapers.
However, there are several companies, including two in the Philippines, that already offer such a service. Globe Telecom offers Globe GCash, a system that "enables any Globe or TM subscriber to send and receive money and make payments just through text/SMS." And Smart Communications Inc. offers Smartpadala, a cash remittance service via text.
It is unclear whether these two companies have filed patents for their technology in the U.S.
Google officials could not be reached for comment.
This story, "Google Files Patent for Mobile Commerce" was originally published by Computerworld.