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Android Pay Unveiled at Google I/O Could Make Mobile Payments Ubiquitous

Op-ed - Android Pay Unveiled at Google I/O Could Make Mobile Payments Ubiquitous

In February, Bitcoin Magazinereported Google’s preliminary announcement of Android Pay. Now, at the annual Google I/O event on May 28 and 29, Google officially announced its upcoming payment platform and revealed more details.Android Pay isn’t a separate payment app, but an open platform that enables developers to integrate mobile payments into their apps. In fact, Android Pay is built right into the core Android operating system. It will be available for download from Google Play soon, and included in the next version of the Android OS – dubbed Android M - expected to be released this fall.“[W]e’ve approached Android Pay the same way we approach every other part of the Android family – partnering with the ecosystem – bringing together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks and retailers to deliver you choice and flexibility,” states the Google announcement.

Android Pay will be supported by leading financial service providers, including American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Citi and Bank of America. It will support NFC payments and biometric authentication tools, and it’s designed to be easy to use and seamlessly compatible with all sorts of Android apps.“Instead of relying on you to load the app and unlock it with a PIN, Android Pay lets you simply tap your phone on an NFC terminal to approve the purchase,” notes Nicole Lee on Engadget. “In addition, Google is also allowing Android Pay to be integrated in apps like Lyft, Grubhub and Wish, so users can easily use that to pay for things. I just used Android Pay here at Google I/O, and I can say this: If it's as easy to use in real life, then I suspect mobile payments are about to be a lot more ubiquitous.”

A question that comes immediately to mind is whether the new Android Pay framework will support bitcoin payments. Since Android Pay is not an app controlled by Google, but a platform that can be used by all app developers, nothing seems to prevent Bitcoin payment services from using Android Pay to make bitcoin payments easier.

“To make it easier for developers to add Android Pay to your favorite apps, we’ve designed our platform to work with any payment processor,” states the Google announcement. “And we’re partnering with top payments processors including Braintree, CyberSource, First Data, Stripe and Vantiv to make integration even easier.” At least two of the payment processors mentioned, Stripe and Braintree, integrate bitcoin payments.

“Today, the latest ‘what’s next’ was unveiled at Google I/O. Launching in the coming months, Android Pay will become the new mobile payment solution for consumers to make purchases with their Android devices,” said Braintree’s CTO Juan Benitez. “We’re excited to share that we’ve integrated Android Pay into the SDK to make it easier for our merchants to add it as a checkout option in their Android apps. We’ve connected with Android Pay on our back end to reduce the number of API calls and provide a streamlined payment flow. Starting today, merchants can sign up for Braintree’s private beta to be ready for Android Pay. With very little effort, merchants will be able to add Android Pay, in addition to credit and debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and bitcoin – all with a single integration.”