Google Pay plants roots for a much-needed social element in Android Pay

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Google launched its Google Pay app for Android devices Tuesday, probably confusing millions of people globally who already used Android Pay. But the change is more than just in the branding.

When Android Pay launched in the summer of 2015 as a successor to Google Wallet, it streamlined the offering to do away with features such as person-to-person payments. But in today's market, where Venmo and the gig economy are demonstrating the value of personal payments, Google realized a need to bring P-to-P back.

But the feature is not here yet; Google Pay merely lays the foundation. Eventually, Google will add P-to-P to allow consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. to send and request money, Google said in a Tuesday blog post.

And this is just the start of getting Google Pay to the forefront for consumers who may be more accustomed, by now, to Google's Android Pay for mobile or PayPal, Visa Checkout or Mastercard Masterpass for online one-click shopping.

"We’re currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you’re shopping on Chrome or with your [voice] Assistant, you’ll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account," Google added in its statement. "We’re also working with partners online and in stores, so you’ll see Google Pay on sites, in apps, and at your favorite places around the world."

A "Cards" tab on the app allows the Google Pay user to organize credit and debit cards, loyalty program accounts, merchant offers or gift cards for easy access at checkout.

Google is also touting Google Pay as a way to pay for public transportation with a tap-and-go sequence of the smartphone on a turnstile scanner initially in the cities of Kiev, London and Portland, Oregon, with more cities added in the near future.

In a note to longtime Android Pay users, Google noted the features they enjoy will not disappear under the Google Pay brand.

"You’ll still get all your bank’s perks and protections, plus an extra layer of security, since Google Pay doesn’t share your actual card number when you pay in stores," Google said. "And those online payment forms that take forever to fill out? Just choose Google Pay at checkout and pay with a few quick clicks instead."

At the same time, Google is encouraging app developers to work with Google's processor partners to build the Google Pay app into business apps or websites.

Business owners building sites themselves can work with Google partner Shopify to integrate Google Pay.

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Google Pay Android Pay P-to-P payments Google