When Apple announced Apple Pay last year, there seemed to be a collective groan among Android users. Both NFC and Google Wallet have been a major part of the Android operating system for years. The service never picked up as much steam as Apple Pay did, however, which is likely why Google is now turning to a new service called Plaso to help transform its digital payment system.
According to The Information, Google began testing out Plaso last fall. The service runs as an app on Android phones that Google provides to the retailer. The retailer can then see other Plaso users as long as they have Bluetooth on, and then when they enter the store, the employees can simply identify them by their initials.
Plaso is now being tested by Google employees and will eventually integrate with Google Wallet. The Information says that this new method will end up costing Google, however. The company already loses cash on in-store transactions done through Google Wallet.
The service sounds similar to Square Wallet, which Square nixed a while ago. PayPal also offers another payment method with the Galaxy S5, which lets you confirm payments with just a swipe of your finger.
The story behind the story: Sorry, Google, but you’ve been veritably upstaged by Apple Pay, which is so popular right now that retailers are even advertising the fact that they accept the iPhone’s method of payment. Google needs something like that to keep its Android platform attractive to the average consumer—one that retailers would want to advertise alongside the goods they sell.
There’s also one more crucial element Google needs to factor in while working on its next great digital payment service: security. Currently, Plaso doesn’t seem very secure—at least not according to the information we have provided to us. We like the idea that all you have to do to pay for something is have your phone with you (no swiping, touching, scanning, signing, or PINs), but Google will need to really elaborate on its security model in order for users to trust it as their primary method of payment.