Google is reportedly working on a new feature for Gmail that will allow users to receive and pay their bills directly from Gmail, taking a lot of the hassle out of paying bills.
The project is codenamed "Project Pony Express," and will require Gmail users to sign up with their name, phone number and social security number.
The way that it will work is that bills will be collected in a special folder within Gmail, allowing users to easily keep track of their bills and when they are due. Reports also suggest that users will be able to split bills with other Gmail users, something that will be a lifesaver for those who live with roommates who share a particular service.
According to the reports, Google is aiming for a late 2015 launch of Project Pony Express and will most likely go under a different name once it is finally launched.
Using the Internet to pay bills is nothing new, however, it would certainly be nice to be able to pay bills from one central service rather than having to log in to multiple different websites to pay separate bills. The service is expected to only be available to those in the U.S. to start off with, but it is likely that it will eventually roll out to other countries.
Google has been experimenting a lot with payment services in the past few years. Apart from Google Wallet, the company's mobile payment system, it also added a peer-to-peer payment system in Gmail a few years ago, allowing users to transfer funds to other Gmail users. This service is called Google Wallet P2P.
Google does, of course, have some competition in the payment processing industry. Apple launched Apple Pay late last year, largely introducing the idea of mobile payments to consumers. Google Wallet existed as a platform for a few years before Apple's entrance, but many were either unaware of the service or simply did not use it because of stores lacked the technology for users to take advantage of it. With the launch of Apple Pay, thousands more stores have adopted Near-Field Communications technology, with not only allows for Apple Pay users to pay for goods and services with their phone, but also allows for users of Google Wallet to do the same.
It's highly likely that Google will use Project Pony Express as a way to expand Google Wallet as it attempts to take on Apple.
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