Google Assistant Pilot Uses Voice Biometrics For Payments

Users of the Google Assistant Voice Match feature will soon be able to make payments for goods and services using only their voice. The new feature is currently being tested as part of a pilot program and is intended to make purchases more secure when people use smart speakers and displays, a Google spokesperson told Android Police in a report on Tuesday (May 26).

The pilot program is limited to in-app purchases via Google Play, and can also be used for restaurant orders, the spokesperson said. There is also a limit on how much money a user can spend using voice as security, Google said in the report.

Using a person’s voice as security can be easier as well as safer, the company said. Alexa currently uses a PIN to protect purchases made using voice.

As it stands now, the pilot program feature does indicate that the security is not yet 100 percent spot-on. Instructions noted that “someone with a similar voice or recording may be able to confirm purchases on devices you’re logged into,” according to the report.

An April report in 9to5Google indicated that the Voice Match training process showed that it is now able to identify voices with “significantly higher accuracy.” In addition, the setup process will require full “Hey Google” phrases. A wider release of the function beyond the pilot is still unknown.

Google first debuted some of Google Assistant’s new functions at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in January. Aside from voice ordering and payments, the virtual assistant will get a new and improved voice capability later this year.

The Google Assistant is being expanded for its use with smart televisions. It will offer new features, including additional privacy controls.

The Google mobile and smart home devices are available in 90 countries and 30 languages and is used by almost a half-billion people.