According to the folks over at Ars Technica, they have gotten word from a very close source that Google will be announcing a new mobile payments API at this years Google I/O called Android Pay. According to the source, Android Pay will power in-store and in-app payments for third-party apps.
Android Pay would be completely separate from Google Wallet which is the company’s current mobile payments product, though people who use Google Wallet could easily link their accounts to apps that use Android Pay. Google currently offers APIs for Google Wallet that can let sites embed a “Buy With Google” button, but Ars’ sources weren’t clear whether that would be phased out after an Android Pay launch.
The API would rely on “Host Card Emulation,” which Google released with Android 4.4, which makes it easier for third-parties to supports NFC payments. The advantage of Android Pay would be that customers wouldn’t need to use Google Wallet according to what Ars Technica was told. Since the company launched Google Wallet in 2011, the service hasn’t taken off, but it passed a major hurdle Tuesday when it announced that it was merging SoftCard, a mobile payments company that was backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile into their system. Now, when you buy a new Android phone from any of the major US carriers, that phone will have the Google Wallet app pre-installed and could come with Android Pay within the coming months.
The choice by Google to call their new product Android Pay is quite obvious when it comes to them wanting to take Apple Pay head-on when it comes to mobile payments. If apps, stores and other businesses could start using Android Pay as it’s mobile payment solution, then it would be a simple way for Google to reach billions of people that use Android phones and like to shop online or by having the convenience of paying for their purchases via NFC and their mobile device.
One notable difference between how Apple Pay and Google Wallet work is that Apple won’t have any access to what users bought or how much they paid. Google, on the other hand, “sees” every transaction that a user makes.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below as to what you think how this will help Google in their fight to be the #1 company when it comes to a mobile payment solution for all of us.