Google Now Gets Passbook-Like Upgrades

What's Next In Payments®
4:27 PM EDT December 6th, 2012

An Apple-like feature a day keeps the iPhones away?

That seems to be Google’s strategy when it comes to mobile apps as of late, and after recently adding a Siri-like component to its Google Now platform, the search giant has now launched a feature similar to Apple’s Passbook within its Google Search app update.

According to TechCrunch, Google Now’s latest feature scans your Gmail for boarding passes, then delivers them to your phone in QR code form, allowing for digital check-in once you’re close to the airport. That makes it even easier to use than Passbook, as you don’t have to manually add boarding passes from a Passbook-friendly app, as you do with Apple’s iteration.

Google said the boarding pass card is launching shortly for United Airlines, but will work with other airlines in the future, VentureBeat reported.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, Google Now can help you suggested activities, by showing you events happening around you, suggesting websites for you to explore as you research things to do, or allowing you to learn more about specific pieces while you’re at a museum (using Google Goggles), the Official Blog For Android reported.

“All of this builds on top of some of the other cards designed for travel, like the currency conversion, translation, and flight status cards — hopefully taking a little bit of the stress out of holiday travel so you can focus on family and fun,” the blog continued.

The leap from a system such as this to one that would enable mobile wallet functionality is not a large one. As TechCrunch writes, there is “no reason why it couldn’t surface additional payment/redemption/check-in options via QR codes and other on-screen scanning options in the future.” We’ve said that about Passbook before, and the same is certainly true about Google Search.

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