Watch out, Square. Google is reportedly working on a new mobile payments platform that will allow businesses to process payments through a smartphone with a Bluetooth connection.
The Information reports that Google’s new service is called Plaso and is already in testing. Though the specific details on how it will work are scant, the news outlet cites sources that say customers provide their initials to the cashier who in turn searches for the customer’s phone on their point-of-sale device. The presence of the customer’s phone in the store detected via Bluetooth, the user’s identity is verified, and the payment is made. Perhaps the most interesting part of this is that it serves both the consumer and the business owner, who would apparently only need a smartphone to process payments in this manner.
The concept probably works in a way that is similar to Square Wallet, which allowed customers to pay for goods in-store using just their name. Debit, credit, or gift card information was stored in the app along with the customer’s photo. This photo and the customer’s name would then pop up on the cashier’s device and they would tap on your name to charge your card.
In May of 2014, just two years after it launched, Square Wallet was shut down due to a lack of interest from consumers. However, as the concept of mobile payments becomes more normal, consumers are growing increasingly more open to the idea of paying for their goods and services in non-traditional ways. Perhaps Plaso will fail, but there’s also a good chance Square Wallet hit just a little bit too early and Square dropped out of the race before consumers could really embrace the technology.