Google Assistant tests authorizing payments with just your voice

In Google’s ambient computing future, voice commands are as capable as tapping away on a touchscreen. Google Assistant is now taking another step toward that with the ability to use Voice Match to authorize/confirm payments.

When making a purchase, Assistant already has your payment method and delivery address on file. You have the security option on an Assistant smart device to “verify it’s you before paying,” which involves receiving a prompt on your phone and authorizing via fingerprint/face unlock.

Now, Voice Match — Google’s system for recognizing multiple users on a device and providing personalized responses — can be used to authorize the payments. As spotted by Android Police, there is a new “Confirm with Voice Match” option in the “Payments” menu available from Assistant settings.

This is part of a limited pilot that Google is running on Smart Displays and speakers, with what you can buy (and confirm via voice) limited, and changing “depending on the good or service.”

When you authorize payments with Voice Match, you can make purchases with your Google Assistant, like in-action upgrades through Google Play digital goods.

The touted example in an accompanying support document is interestingly an in-app purchase from the Play Store. AP also touts restaurant orders, but not — at the moment — Google Shopping payments.

On initial setup, Google walks you through how “your existing Voice Match profile may be used to confirm purchases made through Google Assistant on any device connected to your Google Account.” It can be disabled at any time, and the page warns how a “similar voice or recording may be able to confirm purchases.” After opting in, you’ll have to enter your Google Account password.

These Assistant voice payments — with an added level of security — come as Google last month boosted Voice Match accuracy with an updated hotword training process. The new measure reflects Google trusting its voice recognition system just a bit more for something as crucial as payments.

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