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Okay Google, Pay My Bills: Google Assistant May Handle Payments

January 19, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

While some might mistake Google Assistant for just another voice-activated personal assistant like Siri, there are some new reports to suggest this might be ready to take on another dynamic: bill payment.

The newest reports come from XDA taking on a complete code teardown of the APK of 6.11.13 beta, and the results were eye-opening.

Basically, what was found in the APK is a string of code suggesting that Google Assistant will soon be able to handle not only direct links to Google support, but also credit cards outright. This isn’t the first time Google’s tried something like that, according to the reports—Uber working with Google Home was one point cited—but this may go a bit farther than that by being used for things like Google Express Shopping.

Further looks at the code suggest Google Assistant will be able to include shared devices in the operation, but the ramifications of such a measure are unclear.

Some posit that it may mean that only some devices will be able to handle payments on the system, which helps keep kids from ordering things without permission so specific it will require its own device.

The notion that a user could fire up Google Assistant and say something like “Okay Google, pay my electric bill” is actually a clever concept. Google Assistant has something of a billing as a “home assistant,” and why shouldn’t a home assistant be able to do standard home tasks like paying bills?

It’s reasonable to think that Google Assistant could do a lot of things, so why not let it do those things? Mobile payments could be part of the package, and considering that Google already has a mobile payments mechanism in Google Wallet—not to mention Android Pay—it’s kind of surprising it’s not already in play as is.

Still, better late than never, and we may well see this particular market hole get filled before too much longer anyway. That’s good news for everyone who wants faster, easier bill payments, and for those who want that futuristic touch of telling a machine to do the heavy lifting.