Google’s Answer To Apple Pay

Apple Inc. AAPL 0.49% was the talk of the day today in the financial world, as the company exceeded a $700 billion market cap for the first time ever.

Many analysts praise the potential of Apple’s new Apple Pay mobile payment system, which is already gaining significant momentum as a credit card alternative.

Apple Pay is famous for allowing users to pay for purchases by verifying their identity via a fingerprint. However, if Google Inc GOOG 1.12% GOOGL 0.94% has its way, shoppers soon won’t even have to put down their shopping bags to pay at the register.
According to The Information, Google is working on an Apple Pay competitor that would allow users to verify payments by simply speaking their initials aloud.

The system is called “Plaso,” and is currently being tested at Papa John’s Int’l Inc. PZZA 1.76% and Panera Bread Co PNRA 1.47% locations.

Although details are fuzzy at this point, Plaso, which is currently only being tested by Google employees, presumably uses some form of biometric voice identification software to verify a speaker’s identity.

Google has not announced any plans for a wide launch of Plaso, but its potential success could be a much-needed shot in the arm for Google Wallet, which has failed to mirror the early success of Apple Pay. Apple Pay’s momentum continued just today when Starbucks Corporation SBUX 0.27% added support for Apple Pay to its iOS app.

Some are already questioning how comfortable users will be speaking their initials aloud to cashiers, and it remains to be seen just how far Plaso will go.

According to Tim Cook, Plaso has some major catching up to do, at least when it comes to Panera. Apple Pay is already used for 80 percent of mobile payments at the restaurant.

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