The first update to the Google Pay app since the rebranding has been making its way out into the world. The new version doesn’t appear to bring any visible changes beyond a few pixel-level adjustments, but it includes a couple of neat topics for a teardown. We’ll briefly discuss the imminent merger of Google Pay Send, then dive into the subject of supporting transit tickets, where they might be supported first, and some of the other quirky details to look forward to.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android’s application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It’s possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it’s officially announced and released.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don’t expect to see these features if you install the apk.
Follow-up: Merging Google Pay Send
The rebranding from Android Pay to Google Pay came with a pretty significant redesign. Alongside that shift, the Google Wallet app was also to receive rebranding and a partial redesign, and surprisingly, it even gained a new feature to create reminders. But right from the start, we knew it would ultimately be absorbed by the core Google Pay app. We may never know why Google didn’t merge them before the rebrand, but here we are.
Nevertheless, the latest update adds the READ_CONTACTS permission, activities for the transfers, and at least a little text for the UI. There’s really not much to look at yet, and there’s no reason to expect anything will be meaningfully different from the features currently in Google Pay Send, so this is really just a follow-up that shows the merger is underway.
<string name=”p2p_title”>Send or request money</string>
<activity android:name=”com.google.commerce.tapandpay.android.p2p.transfer.CreateP2pTransferActivity” android:theme=”@style/Theme.GooglePay.NoActionBar” />
<activity android:name=”com.google.commerce.tapandpay.android.p2p.transfer.CompleteP2pTransferActivity” android:theme=”@style/Theme.GooglePay.NoActionBar” />
Follow-up: Transit tickets
In the last teardown of Google Pay, signs emerged that support for managing transit tickets is in the works. New additions in this version focus in on that future in some interesting ways. Right from the outset, a new description line explains the key advantage to using Google Pay: It can keep a record of your trips from point A to point B, making it easy to keep track of usage.
Start using this pass with Google Pay and keep track of all your trips right here
<string name=”commute_route“>%1$s – %2$s</string>
<string name=”commute_route_first_zone“>1: %1$s – %2$s</string>
<string name=”commute_route_second_zone“>2: %1$s – %2$s</string>
It’s not that this sort of thing is entirely new – it already worked with some commuter trains and subways – but this will be extending those capabilities beyond direct payments (e.g. Credit cards, virtual fare cards, etc) to include passes and tickets.
Las Vegas Stops
Where things get a bit more interesting is that a few specific places are being named in text. In one of the blocks from the previous teardown, I included an array of strings for transit station names, but aside from entries for “unknown” and “Google,” all of them were short one or two character codes. In this update, they’ve all been expanded to proper names or abbreviations.
Harrah’s & The LINQ
Flamingo & Caesars Palace
Bally’s & Paris
If you’ve been to, or even heard much about Las Vegas, half of this list should look familiar; it includes some of the most famous casino resorts in the world. They also happen to be the stops along the Las Vegas Monorail: In order, SLS, Westgate, Convention Center, Harrah’s & The LINQ, Flamingo & Caesar’s Palace, Bally’s & Paris, and MGM Grand.
Mandalay Bay is also on this list, and it does technically have tram service, but it is not part of the same line. Instead, it’s the end-cap of a short rail that also makes stops at the Luxor, Excalibur, and Tropicana, none of which are mentioned. Also, it’s free to ride this line, unlike the Las Vegas Monorail.
Even stranger is that the Sands Expo Convention Center appears in this group. As far as I’m aware – and I lived in Las Vegas for several years – the Sands Expo doesn’t have a rail system, or at least not one can find.
Four other entries in the list include: OMSF, ITS01, ITS02, and NXP. The first is short for Operations and Maintenance Facility, but I’m not familiar with the others, and I’m not sure if they’re necessarily related to Las Vegas or just entries for testing.
Keep in mind that these are likely just placeholders while ticketing support is in development. At the very least, I’m incredulous since two “stops” in the list don’t make sense. On the other hand, Las Vegas is a prime location to support temporary passes since it will be traveled almost exclusively by tourists.
Shinkansen in Japan
Las Vegas isn’t the only place mentioned in here, there are also a couple of other mass transit options mentioned. Two strings include the names Green pass and Shinkansen pass. Shinkansen, sometimes referred to as bullet trains, are a network of railways stretching across most of Japan. Green passes are basically first-class tickets on the Shinkansens and a few other lines.
One other interesting addition is a set of questions for use in password recovery. Notably, these are all still written in Japanese, even though they’re stored alongside English. I’ll include the English translations here. Note, I’m using Google Translate, so some of these are not particularly faithful conversions.
- My favorite train
- Favorite rides
- Station of memories
- Tourist spots of memories
- Favorite food
- Hated food
- School that graduated
- My favorite team
- Pet’s name
- Parent’s maiden name
<string name=”password_recovery_answer_label”>Password recovery answer</string>
<string name=”password_recovery_question_hint”>Select Password Recovery Question</string>
<string name=”password_recovery_question_label”>Password recovery question</string>
Unlike the Las Vegas samples mentioned above, the Japanese elements look more specific and pretty credible, so I’m less inclined to hedge about whether or not they’re just placeholders. I would expect the Shinkansen to be one of the first places to utilize Google Pay as a ticket maintainer.
* Apologies for any poor phrasing or misunderstandings regarding Japan, Japanese language, or local customs.
Finally, there’s one line that… well, it seems like a joke. The name of the string suggests there’s a company by the name of Wartortle, but after several searches, I can’t find anything that isn’t related to Pokemon. If there is a legitimate company with that name, I assume somebody in the comments will confirm it; otherwise, I’m counting this as another placeholder.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
Image: Map of Shinkansen lines by Hisagi (CC BY-SA 4.0)