In two days, thousands of developers, tech enthusiasts and journalists will converge for Google’s annual I/O developer conference. This event is where everyone’s favorite not evil company trots out its next and best ideas for Android, Chrome, and services like YouTube. The event is also where Google gets down and funky with its most creative ideas – for example, Google Glass was first announced at one of these events.
So what is on deck for this year that payments and commerce players should be extra interested in?
First and foremost, the company will be officially launching Android Pay. The company first announced their plan to develop a payments API for developers called Android Pay at Mobile World Congress conference in March, and according to reporting in ArtsTechnica, the API will be ready to roll as of this week.
Android Pay will allow businesses to add mobile payments as an option to their apps, to which users can upload credit card or debit card information with the goal of making transactions single-tap affairs. The Android Pay API will also allow firms that adopt it to include tap-to-pay transactions in brick-and-mortar stores – leveraging Google’s Host Card Emulation (HCE), which makes it easier for third-party apps to take advantage of Android phones’ Near Field Communications (NFC) chips.
According to AT’s sources, unlike Google Wallet, Android Pay will be “built from the ground up” for Android developers, using HCE.
And while Android Pay is the most immediately interesting thing out there for a payments watcher, Google will have quite a bit more going on this week. Also expected as of I/O later this week are the announcement of the latest and greatest Android OS – Android “M” (currently codenamed Macadamia Nut Cookie internally, according to reports), Brillo (Google’s smart home technology) and the next generation of Android wear – now rejuvenated, thanks to the apparent success of the Apple Watch.
There are even some rumors – entirely unsubstantiated – reported in Venture Beat – that Google may give an update on the future of Google Glass. Reports earlier this year indicated that the project was being shelved – but some believe that the Glass could ride again and that consumers and developers might get an idea this week of how exactly that might work.