Google Pay, which has marked three times growth in the last 12 months to 67 million monthly active users driving transactions worth over $110 billion (roughly Rs. 7,82,993 crores) on an annualised basis, is set to grow bigger through an all-new effort called the Spot Platform. Google at the fifth edition of Google for India event in New Delhi on Thursday announced the Spot Platform that is aimed at the "bridging the offline and online worlds" by enabling merchants to provide branded commercial experiences. Alongside the Spot Platform, Google Pay is enabling payments for debit and credit card holders through 'tokenized' cards.
With the Spot Platform, merchants will be able to offer custom branded experiences to their customers. The platform offers Spot Codes that can be scanned to make payments and help businesses engage with customers without having to install an app or visit a particular website.
"Users can discover a Spot online or at a physical location, and transact with the merchant easily and securely within the Google Pay app," wrote Ambarish Kenghe, Director, Product Management, Google Pay, in a blog post. "The Google Pay app also surfaces the relevant Spot to the user when they need it, directly on the homescreen."
Just like a QR code, a Spot Code can be placed at a physical location. But unlike a QR code that is meant only to enable payments, a Spot Code allows merchants to let customers discover, buy, and engage with them. The Spot Platform also allows customers to create new accounts or share payment details with every business they use.
Customers using an NFC-enabled smartphone can tap the Spot Code to go straight into the business's Spot on Google Pay or simply scan the Spot Code by swiping through the Google Pay app. Recommended businesses using the Spot Platform will also be visible on the updated Google Pay app.
Initially, players such as UrbanClap, Goibibo, MakeMyTrip, RedBus, Eat.Fit, and Oven Story are on board for the Spot Platform. Individual developers and businesses can sign up online to begin with the latest development.
To ensure safety and privacy, Google promises that no device permissions or data provided by the user to Google Pay "is passed on without explicit user consent to the merchant." The company also notes that users "can grant, review, and modify" the permissions for each Spot individually.
Alongside the Spot Platform, Google announced tokenized cards at the Google for India event. Tokenized cards are designed to secure online payments via Google Pay by using digital tokens instead of showing the actual credit or debit card number.
Tokenized cards on Google Pay will be rolling out in the next few weeks. Initially, the new experience will be available for Visa cards issued by HDFC, Axis, Kotak, and Standard Chartered banks. However, there are plans to expand the coverage to Mastercard and Rupay as well as include more banks in the coming months.
For small and medium-sized businesses, Google is also building a new app called Google Pay for Business. The app is touted to enable digital payments with fast and easy setup and without consuming much time in onboarding and verifying the users.
Google additionally introduced another Google Pay feature called the Job Spot that will help job seekers in India find and prepare for entry-level positions directly using the Google Pay app. The feature uses machine learning algorithms to recommend jobs and training content to users to help them prepare for interviews and learn new skills. The Job Spot on Google Pay will also enable users to easily apply for new jobs, schedule interviews, and engage directly with potential employers.
To begin with the new experience, Google is partnering with companies in retail such as 24Seven and Healthkart, delivery and logistics companies like Swiggy, Zomato, and Dunzo, and hospitality providers such as Fabhotels. The company has also tied up with the National Skills Development Corporation to help students enrolled in the Skill India programme with a seamless way to get started with the Job Spot feature and find appropriate jobs.
Google at the annual event also announced that it is making 'Donations' in Google Pay a permanent feature to help individuals find and donate to various non-profit organisations.