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Google to dub its mobile-payments service 'Google Wallet'?

Some of the Web giant's plans to turn smartphones into mobile wallets appear to have been revealed by a partner ahead of the company's own event to announce the program.

It appears that one of Google's mobile-wallet partners has stolen some of the Web giant's thunder ahead of tomorrow's planned announcement.

Google, which is widely expected to unveil a long-rumored mobile-payments system on Thursday, will dub the service "Google Wallet," according to what appears to be an internal memo from The Container Store. According to the memo, which was published by, the Web giant plans to launch Google Wallet near the end of summer:

...this summer Google will launch a test of "contactless" payment through a mobile device--so customers will be able to just tap a special device and pay with their phone in stores at POS! And this Thursday, Google will announce all of the innovative retailers who will be participating in their test--and guess who is on that list? You got it right! We are! And how cool that Google thought of us, The Container Store!

Stay tuned for many more details regarding this test of Google Wallet and the participating markets. We won't start this program September 1st, but thought that we should all have the heads up on this neat opportunity now because we expect it will receive a lot of press in the upcoming weeks when Google makes its official media announcement about this initiative.

Google representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google is holding a media event in New York on Thursday in which it is expected to unveil a system that would allow users to pay for retail purchases by holding select Android-based Sprint smartphones up to a specialized reader at checkout counters (point of sales). The service is expected to tap near-field communications technology (NFC), which lets devices exchange information wirelessly with one another over very short distances, about 4 inches.

Google reportedly plans to introduce the service initially in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as well as partnering with MasterCard and Citigroup to allow the financial giants' customers to use their debit and credit cards to pay for purchase from their Android smartphones.

The event is scheduled to be held at Google's New York offices. And it will kick off at 12 p.m. ET. CNET will live-blog the news using the Cover It Live tool. So come back about 20 minutes before the press conference starts to get in on the pre-event chatter and follow the news here as it happens.