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Google is working on a new service to combat Apple Pay

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Apple Pay might not have been the first mobile payments service to enter the market but it has certainly risen to become on the most successful. Even though it launched less than six months ago, the service has enjoyed a level of popularity that Google Wallet never has despite having been available for years before Apple Pay came out. Obviously Apple knows something that Google doesn’t.

Florence Ion summed it up in an article for PCWorld quite well:

“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.”

Google is well aware of this problem and has apparently been working on a new service, known as Plaso (play-so), that it hopes will strengthen its own mobile payments offerings to better compete with Apple. In development since last autumn, what separates this service from the rest is that, rather than being powered by NFC, it uses Bluetooth to communicate with nearby compatible devices. It runs as an Android app for smartphones that Google will provide to its retail partners which enables employees to see any other Plaso users in the area, so long as they have Bluetooth on.

Another one of Plaso’s quirks is that when employees see that a Plaso user has entered their store, the person will show up on a list of initials. Should that person want to complete their transaction using Plaso they’ll need to tell the employee what their initials are so that the employee can select them from the list.

It’s an interesting idea but initial reactions to this have been pretty mixed, with some pointing out that this method could enable you to make a transaction without even needing to pull out your smartphone, let alone your wallet. There’s no indication of when the new service will launch bit it’s currently being tested out by Google employees and will eventually be integrated with Google Wallet

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