Google’s new mobile payment system could let you pay without taking out your phone

Google Wallet has been around for quite some time now, yet it’s being overshadowed by the newcomer that is Apple Pay. Obviously Google isn’t pleased about that, and it sounds like it’s working on something that will help it fight back.

According to The Information, the new service is being worked on under the code name ‘Plaso’ and designed to help people pay for things with their phone without actually having to take it out of their pocket.

The idea is that if someone with Plaso running on their phone enters a shop that has the tech installed, it will activate automatically. When it comes to actually paying for your goods, the person at the register will be able to access user payment options simply by asking them their initials. That means that paying won’t involve any sort of scanning or swiping.

Obviously this does bring up a few questions about security, things like verifying your identity and what will happen if other people in the shop share your initials. Presumably Google will be tackling these issues well before the public launch of the service, if it ever comes to fruition that is.

From a consumer perspective Plaso does sound like a great idea, but it does require retailers to install special equipment to make it work. That’s going to be a serious disadvantage for Google given that Apple Pay uses the already-widespread NFC contactless payment system, and it’s rumoured that Samsung will have the magnetic strip reader-compatible Loop Pay included in the Galaxy S6.

Assuming the rumours are true, we have no idea when Plaso will be released to the public. Presumably it will be tied into existing Google Wallet services, rather than being something completely new.

Tom Pritchard