Google has been doling out new innovations left and right since its annual I/O conference started. While the conference is intended for developers, there is plenty of information that is equally beneficial to consumers as well. And we’ve been following closely to help keep you in the loop. One big announcement came with changes made to the company’s payment app, Wallet, taking it beyond the tap to pay history it’s had, and bringing it to the Web.
One of the biggest updates is that Google introduced the Instant Buy API to developers of external apps and websites. This will allow these developers to introduce Google+ sign-on to their customers, which in turn will speed up the shopping experience. As long as the user has already entered their information into Wallet, there’s no need to go through those motions again. Not only does it speed things up, but Google serves as an added security precaution since, when paying this way, the merchant never actually gains access to the full credit card number. This isn’t as big a deal when it comes to larger companies, but will give peace of mind as smaller businesses begin to adapt Instant Buy. To launch, the service will be available with Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Uber, and Priceline, which it used to demonstrate the service.
Another update is likely to keep up with Apple’s Passbook. Wallet will now allow its users to add any loyalty card with no restrictions. To boot, developers are being given access to this API as well, so they can help consumers sign up for their loyalty cards even easier. They’ll even be able to send push notifications if a user is nearby, alerting them to deals. Alaska Airlines, The Body Shop, and Marriott Rewards are just a few of the partners that the company will launch with.
And finally, users are going to be able to use Gmail to send money between Wallet accounts. That’s right. You can now email money. At launch, this will be limited to the Web version of Gmail, not the mobile app, though you will be able to make the transfer on your phone via the mobile Gmail site. If you’re sending the money from a bank account that you’ve already linked to Wallet, the service is entirely free of charge. However, there will be a charge made to your account if you opt to use a credit card or debit card (which both will still have to be linked to Wallet).
All in all, some exciting news. It’s difficult to say if We’re looking forward to actually trying these out firsthand.