Google Assistant is a voice-activated tool that comes preinstalled on Android phones and a number of Google-branded smart home devices. iPhone users can also download this voice-activated technology as a dedicated app.
To begin using Google Assistant, you only need to say, “Hey Google” or “OK Google.” Then, you can voice any number of commands, whether you want to:
- Do an online search query
- Adjust your thermostat
- Start a new song playlist
However, with the latest version of Google Assistant, it’s now possible to send and receive money — just by using your voice.
Making Payments through Google Assistant
The ability to send and receive money through Google isn’t entirely new. The company already has Google Pay — a virtual wallet that allows users to purchase items at any POS terminal that leverages near field communication (NFC) technology.
You can also use the Google Pay app for peer-to-peer payments with family and friends.
Though with Google Assistant’s voice component, money transfers could become significantly easier for users (and more profitable for merchants).
Making Peer-to-Peer Payments with Your Voice
The setup process for Google Assistant is very similar to Google Pay’s. In both cases, users must first link their credit card or bank account to their smartphones, tablets or smart home devices.
To send a payment through Google Pay, however, you must open the app, type in your details, and click send.
By contrast, Google Assistant allows you to simply say, “Hey Google! Send John $35 for those football tickets.”
You’ll then be greeted with a screen prompting you for confirmation, and you can finally authorize the transfer by inputting your password or providing a fingerprint scan.
On John’s end, he’ll receive a message via email, text or in-app notification of funds received.
This process can also work in reverse when requesting money. Simply speak the words, “Hey Google! Request $20 from Charlotte for last night’s dinner.” The entire process works in the opposite direction, with Charlotte using her Google Pay or Google Assistant to send money directly to you.
Free to use, Google Assistant’s payment function is currently available in a select number of countries — including the U.S., Australia, Germany, Japan, France and the U.K. Yet by the end of 2018, Google Assistant will support more than 30 languages . Thus, it’s likely Google has long-term plans of taking peer-to-peer payments global.
However, the potential applications of this voice-activated technology extend well beyond sending money to family and friends.
How Google Assistant Could Impact E-Commerce (for the Better)
If deployed correctly, Google’s voice assistant could help make impulse buying far more impulsive than it already is.
Just imagine running out of toilet paper. If you can order a new pack simply by speaking into your phone, this means you won’t have to:
- Write a grocery list that you pin to the family refrigerator
- Log onto your computer and load an online shopping cart
- Fumble with your phone to swipe, click or open the right app
Simply say, “OK Google! Order more Charmin toilet paper from the Acme Store.”
Just like that, the Acme Store has made another sale.
If you run a charitable organization, raising donations is equally frictionless. When you send a monthly or annual reminder to your members, they can contribute on the spot. There’s no need for donors to save your message for later (when they have “more time”).
They can speak their donations directly into their phones — the moment they get your message.
Are Payments Made through Google Assistant Secure?
Google Assistant is as safe as any other payment method — perhaps even more so.
Credit card information is encrypted on the device, making it inaccessible to potential hackers. To initiate payments, you must have physical access to the card-enabled device itself. Moreover, you must input a password or use your fingerprint to complete the transaction.
While no payment technology is 100 percent secure, Google Assistant provides far more protection than most other alternatives.
In addition, Google already has the ability to recognize different voices . In theory, the company could easily add biometric verification as an additional layer of security.
When Can Businesses Start Using Google Assistant to Accept Payments?
In its current form, Google Assistant is still a peer-to-peer payment system with no official support for businesses. However, it is possible to order online (with your voice) using Google Home — the company’s line of smart devices and speakers. Plus, users can already shop online using Google Pay.
Thus, making the leap to voice-activated buying via mobile devices seems like a no-brainer. This is especially true since Apple already offers this feature through its own voice assistant — Siri.
It’s just a matter of time before Google Assistant becomes a ubiquitous platform that allows users to send money to any recipient — including businesses and charities.
When that happens, it’ll be pretty big news. We’ll certainly cover the announcement here on the BluePay Blog, so be sure to check in periodically.
In the meantime, feel free to contact our merchant services team if you have any questions about accepting payments.