Could the most widely used email service soon become a popular way to pay electricity and other utility bills? Documents leaked Wednesday indicate Google may be developing a service that would allow Gmail users to receive and pay their bills directly from their email.
Details about the service, called Pony Express, were discovered by tech publication Re/code. It's not known whether Pony Express is the actual name or a codename, but a leaked document, complete with images, shows how users can sign up for the service.
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Users can connect to a company to authenticate their identity by providing their name, address and Social Security number. Once their account is authenticated, users will then receive notifications about their bills coming due to their Gmail or to the Inbox app and can then choose to pay their bill, without having to access an external website.
A Google representative declined to comment on Pony Express, but the service is expected to launch during the fourth quarter. It is not known whether Pony Express will be a free or paid service.
Hoping to appeal to a homegrown base of 530 million Gmail users, Pony Express could be a stepping stone to Google developing its own full-fledged financial and banking services, Re/code noted. Having such access to users’ financial data could be a new avenue of developing and targeting advertisements on different Google services, and could accrue data that Google could use in future projects.
Google has been trying to get into many new businesses as of late. The company is planning its own wireless mobile service, expected to launch in “coming months,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products, during a keynote at the recent World Mobile Congress.