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That $1,000 the lad in Lagos needed? Just email it with Google Wallet

Be afraid, PayPal - be very afraid

Google has integrated its payment Wallet with Gmail, enabling PayPal-style transactions from within the Gmail interface, and to any over-18 American with an email address and a Google Wallet account.

Google Wallet has also spread to another couple of handsets, including the Samsung flagships (S4 & Note II) and the HTC One, all of which support the pay-by-bonk functionality made possible by NFC and the Google-controlled secure element embedded in the handset.

But the Gmail integration is probably more important coming only days after Google's head of payments was eased out of his role, and Larry Page reportedly stepped in to squash the introduction of a physical card carrying the Google brand.

Osama Bedier was head of Wallet and Payments for the search giant, after being poached from PayPal in 2011. But last week he announced his resignation "to pursue other interests". Within days Larry Page had apparently killed off the physical card which was intended to bring bonking functionality to those lacking the latest Android hardware.

But if they can't bonk, they can at least transfer money between Google Wallets with a simple email message. The integration into GMail makes adding cash as simple as attaching an image or other binary file, and Google is promising to provide payment protection for any transaction reported within 180 days, though how much hoop jumping will be required to get a refund remains to be seen.

Transfers are free, as long as one is prepared to give Google unfettered access to one's current account. Bringing a credit card into the picture will cost 2.9 per cent with a minimum rate of 30 cents per transaction.

The service will roll out across US accounts over the next few months, with Google hoping for organic growth as every received payment activates another user.

It's worth noting that everyone who has shopped at Google Play already has a Wallet account. But even if the search giant has to push, the launch should have PayPal and its ilk very worried indeed. ®

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