If there was ever a truism for Big Tech, it’s that all roads lead to payments.
When you control audiences that number in the billions, it makes a whole lot of sense to tack on a payments service — and Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft have all taken note.
Not wanting to fall behind, Google just re-launched its Google Pay app.
Google is rolling out every finance feature you can think of
According to The Verge, the update “turns the app from a tap-to-pay card repository… into a much more ambitious service.”
Among the new features:
- Peer-to-peer payments (a la Venmo or Square)
- Insights about spending (a la Mint)
- Checking and savings account services (a la the banking app, Ally)
- Group payments (a la Splitwise)
A nice wrinkle from Google is an “Explore” tab which aggregates deals and coupons.
Adding the search magic
You can opt in to let Google scan your inbox and photos for receipts, which automates the process of guilting yourself for every idiotic thing you bought while shopping drunk.
Google claims it will not share or sell data to 3rd parties. But, the app does have an opt-in for “personalized deals” based on transaction history.
Still a lot of work to do
Tech reporter Casey Newton notes that Google has found success breaking into new markets by offering free alternatives to existing products.
Think Gmail (which blew past competing email services), or Google Docs (which has eaten into Microsoft Office).
Payments are a different challenge for the search giant.
“The peer-to-peer payment apps that Google is competing with most directly are already free to use,” writes Newton, “and have a big head start in developed countries.”
Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox
Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less