Add another item to the list of things to expect at Google (NSDQ: GOOG) I/O this week: much talk of (NFC) near-field communications technology and what it can bring to mobile devices and developers.
Pumping up NFC is old hat for Google, as Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has been talking about the possibility of using NFC chips as the wireless bridge between phones and payment collectors since last year, and Google also released plans to support the technology inside its Android 2.3 software as well as the Nexus S, made by Samsung. But it seems that partners are starting to get on board with Google’s plans, and not the ones you usually think of when talking about NFC inside phones.
Foursquare announced plans Monday to test the idea of NFC check-ins to Google I/O through its service (this is apparently called “tapping in”). And Techcrunch also noticed that Hashable, a contacts-management service for mobile users, updated its Android application to support NFC chips just before the show formally kicks off on Tuesday.
While the big push around NFC has been incessant talk of mobile payments systems, Foursquare and Hashable are showing how there are plenty of other potential uses for the technology. However, there still aren’t very many phones with NFC chips in the wild: Android partners have released a few, and Research in Motion’s new BlackBerry 7.0 phones come with the technology. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has maintained its trademark silence when it comes to things it may or may not do with the iPhone, which could either cement NFC as a standard or fragment the path for short-range wireless services.