Google has announced the latest baby step in the evolution of its payments platform: Users can send and request payments using Google Assistant, Google’s voice-based AI system. In theory, the idea is to let users pay their friends through simple voice commands, but the system will require authentication in the form of a password or a fingerprint scan, so users will still be required to get hands-on with their devices.
It’s part of a larger, convoluted rebranding process for Google Pay. Last month, the Android Pay payments platform officially became Google Pay; meanwhile, the Google Wallet became Google Pay Send, a peer-to-peer payments service.
Wait, you ask, if Google Pay Send is Google’s P2P payments platform, why has the company enabled the new Google Assistant payments feature through Google Pay? That isn’t clear, but ultimately it won’t be a meaningful distinction, with Google aiming to integrate Google Pay Send into Google Pay somewhere down the line. This could be seen as a step in that direction, or at least in a waltz vaguely headed that way.
Also coming soon is the ability to send and request payments via voice command using Google Home devices. It’s possible that this functionality will allow for authentication via voice biometrics, but that isn’t yet clear.