In addition to announcing that Google will be developing its own wireless carrier service to rival the likes of Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, Google also unveiled a new mobile payments framework at Mobile World Congress.

Unsurprisingly called Android Pay, Sundar Pichai, senior VP at Google, announced that the service would not be a new product for the average user and consumer, but it would be an "API layer" that would allow companies to secure payments on Android in both physical stores and through online applications.

"We are doing it in a way in which anybody else can build a payments service on top of Android," Pichai said. "So, in places like China and Africa we hope that people will use Android Pay to build innovative services." Pichai failed to elaborate on just how Android Pay will work versus how Apple Pay has outlined its services, but the 42-year-old Indian businessman did claim Google would "start with NFC" (near-field communications) and move on from there.

Interestingly enough, many pundits are presuming that Pichai and Google may use the fingerprint scanners that are featured in Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones in an attempt to curb the hacking violations that Apple Pay is already experiencing. Pichai also mentioned Google Wallet, a service that allows persons or stores to send currency to anyone with a Gmail address, and confirmed that it would continue to be separate from Android Pay.

With plenty of questions still on the table as to how Android Pay will be different from its competitors, Google is hoping to allow developers to take hold of their work and create a successful platform. It remains crystal clear that the search engine juggernaut wants to make the process of submitting and retrieving payment a whole lot easier (see: single-tap transactions) through fingerprint-authenticated tasks.

The launch of Apple Pay has forced Google to take a different measure, albeit utilizing similar methods of application. One subtle difference is Google’s use of tokenized card numbers, a standard which the major credit cards support. The plan from Google would be to use that as another way to reduce fraud through the generating of a one-time credit card number.

As the Mobile World Conference continues today, we ask - do you think that this latest move by Google will give it a greater market share in the mobile payments distribution model?

Photo: JD Hancock | Flickr

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