Say hello to a better way to pay, by Google

Fast, simple checkout. Easy access to rewards and offers. One spot for purchases, passes, and payment methods. All of these are ways we’ve been working to make paying safer and easier for everyone, everywhere. And you can make the most of these features with the new Google Pay app for Android.

The app, which begins rolling out today, is just one part of everything we’ve got planned. We’re currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you’re shopping on Chrome or with your Assistant, you’ll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account. We’re also working with partners online and in stores, so you’ll see Google Pay on sites, in apps, and at your favorite places around the world.

As we continue to expand to even more devices and services, the new app offers an exciting glimpse of what’s to come. Here’s a closer look.

Helpful info while you shop

Google Pay’s new Home tab gives you the info you need, right when you need it. See your recent purchases, find nearby stores, enjoy easy access to rewards, and get helpful tips.

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A new spot for your stuff

The Cards tab is an easy way to keep everything you need at checkout organized and at the ready. It’s where you’ll store your credit and debit cards, loyalty programs, offers, and even that stack of gift cards from last year’s birthday.

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A faster way to pay your fare

Use Google Pay on transit in cities such as Kiev, London, and Portland (with more coming soon), and stop worrying about your pass once and for all. Now all you need at the turnstile is the device that’s already in your hand. 

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Google security and encryption

Like all Google products, Google Pay comes with strong security protections to safeguard your account and personal data from security threats. In other words, it’s got your back.

All your favorite features

Longtime Android Pay fans, fear not: the features you love aren’t going away. You’ll still get all your bank’s perks and protections, plus an extra layer of security, since Google Pay doesn’t share your actual card number when you pay in stores. And those online payment forms that take forever to fill out? Just choose Google Pay at checkout and pay with a few quick clicks instead.

And more features are coming. If you live in the U.S. or the UK, you’ll be able to use it to send and request money within the next few months. In the meantime, the Wallet app is now called Google Pay Send, and we’re giving it a fresh coat of paint to go with the Google Pay brand.

Want to accept Google Pay for your app, site or business? If you’re a developer, you can work with our processor partners and find all the tools you need on our developer site. And if you’re a business owner building a site for yourself, we’ve partnered with Shopify to make integration even easier.

Ready to try the Google Pay app? Get it on Google Play today.


Android

Tap. Pay. Yes! Android Pay welcomes Chase and more

Update September 13: We’re pleased to add that Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank are all launching on Android Pay in the U.K. today, with TSB coming soon!

Android Pay helps millions of people pay for things simply and securely with their Android smartphones. We’ve expanded to the U.K., Singapore and Australia and added hundreds of new banks, enabling people to tap to pay at millions of stores — and in hundreds of apps, including recent order-ahead newcomers: Domino’s in Australia, hungryhouse in the U.K. and Grubhub and Seamless in the U.S.

Today, we’re excited to share some updates.

More banks in the U.S. and U.K.

Chase
It’s with great delight that we welcome Chase, one of the largest banks in the U.S., to the Android Pay family. Starting today, Android Chase customers can add their eligible Chase Visa cards like Freedom, Slate, Sapphire, United Mileage Explorer and Hyatt Credit Card to Android Pay. Customers will be able to enjoy the same benefits and protections they’re used to getting with their Chase card – while making contactless purchases in stores and apps. You can learn more about how to get started with Chase and Android Pay here, and see a full list of all the banks supported in the U.S.

And across the pond in the U.K., Santander and TSB customers and more will soon be able to add their cards to Android Pay. This rollout will start over the coming weeks – you can follow @Android on Twitter to find out exactly when.

More value from your favorite merchants

We’ve also been working closely with our merchant partners to streamline the checkout experience and increase the value people get from Android Pay.

At Walgreens, we recently integrated their Balance Rewards loyalty program with Android Pay at more than 8,100 locations nationwide. Now, with just two taps at checkout, Walgreens customers paying with Android Pay can enjoy savings, earn and redeem loyalty points, and pay for their purchases. And there’s no need to even open the app – it’s smart enough to know when to pull up a customer’s Balance Rewards card and when to pay. We’re also thrilled to partner with Dunkin’ Donuts and Chili’s, who will both be integrating their loyalty programs with Android Pay in the coming months.

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Groupon.com mobile checkout experience on Chrome coming soon

With Uber, we’re excited to be the first mobile wallet to deeply integrate with their newPayment Rewards program, which allows users to unlock timely discounts. Starting today through October 15, all Android Pay users in the U.S. can enjoy 50% off 10 Uber rides.* No codes, no hassle – just use Android Pay on Uber to get your discounted rides.

More checkouts made simple

We’re moving beyond mobile apps and bringing the simplicity and security of Android Pay onto the mobile web. Users will soon be able to speed through mobile checkout on Chrome using Android Pay on sites like Groupon.com, 1-800-Flowers.com and many more to come. Just like in stores and in apps, Android Pay does not share actual account numbers with merchants, so users can shop online with confidence, knowing that Android Pay keeps their card number secure.

We’re looking forward to bringing Android Pay to more countries, more banks, and more of your favorite stores, sites, and apps. Stay tuned for more updates soon.

*Merchant terms apply


Android

How we stop fraudulent apps from holding you ransom

Recently we shared our 2016 Android Security Year in Review, which looks at how we protect Android users and their data. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how we shield people from a rare—but particularly disruptive—potentially harmful app (PHA) known as ransomware. We’ve long had protections from ransomware in Android, and we added new ones in Nougat as well.

Ransomware is a type of app that restricts access to your device until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware usually presents itself in one of two forms: apps that restrict access to your device and then demand payment to regain access to the device, or apps that encrypt data on the device’s external storage (such as an SD card) and then demand payment to decrypt your data. To make the scam more convincing, fraudsters sometimes pretend to be from a credible law enforcement agency and accuse you of doing something illegal so you’re more likely to pay.

Although ransomware has begun to target mobile devices, it’s still rare: Since 2015, less than 0.00001 percent of installations from Google Play, and less than .01 percent of installations from sources other  than Google Play, were categorized as ransomware.  (That’s less than the odds of getting struck by lightning twice in your lifetime!).

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Some examples of popular ransomware

And Android users have long been protected from ransomware. Our Google Play policies strictly prohibit apps that contain it, and if we ever detect these scams, we rapidly take action. Verify Apps, our security system that analyzes apps before they are installed and then regularly checks more than 400 million devices and 6 billion apps everyday for PHAs, is another safeguard. And Application Sandboxing, a technology that forces each app to operate independently of others, provides another layer of defense. Sandboxes require apps to mutually consent to sharing data, a protection which limits ransomware’s ability to access sensitive information like a contact list from another app.

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Ransomware protections in Android Nougat

With the release of Android 7.0 Nougat, we added to existing defenses against ransomware, and also made some changes to address some of the newer tactics of ransomware scams. Here are a few examples:

  • Safety blinders: Apps can no longer see which other apps are active. That means scammy ones can’t see what other apps are doing—and can’t inform their attacks based on activity.
  • Even stronger locks: If you set a lockscreen PIN prior to installing ransomware, ransomware can’t misuse your device’s permissions to change your PIN and lock you out.
  • Whacking clickjacking: “Clickjacking” tricks people into clicking something, often by obscuring permission dialogs behind other windows. You’re now protected from ransomware attacks that use this tactic to sneakily gain control of a device.

Protecting your data and device from ransomware

Even with all the safeguards we’ve built into Android and Google Play to protect you from ransomware, there are still a few things that you can do to keep your device safe.

  1. Only download apps from a trustworthy source, such as Google Play.
  2. Ensure Verify Apps is enabled.
  3. Install security updates and always ensure your device is updated to the latest version to get the best security protection.
  4. Back up your device.
  5. Be cautious. Take a moment to read reviews and other information about apps before installing, to make sure you download the app you’re looking for.

If you accidentally install ransomware on your phone, you have a few options. First, you can try to boot into safe mode. Starting your device in safe mode means your device only has the original software and apps that came with it. If an app is misbehaving but the issues go away in safe mode, the problem is probably caused by a third-party app downloaded on your device. If you can boot into safe mode, try to uninstall the app and then reboot the device. On a Pixel, you can get into safe mode with a keyboard combination that PHAs can’t touch.

If safe mode doesn’t work, then you might have to reset your phone to factory settings. Many devices running Android allow you to remove dangerous apps by resetting it to factory settings (also referred to as formatting the device, or doing a “hard reset”). This should be your last resort, but if you’ve backed up your files, resetting your device should be easy. Check with your carrier or device manufacturer for instructions on how to reset your phone.

Ransomware on Android is exceedingly rare. Still, we’ve implemented lots of new protections in Nougat, and we continue to improve on the defenses that have long been in place. Those protections, along with extra vigilance about how you download your apps, will help keep you and your device secure.


Android

Huawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolio

Over the coming months, Huawei will make it even easier for hundreds of millions of people to express themselves via mobile messaging by integrating Android Messages, powered by RCS, across their Android smartphone portfolio.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over Wi-Fi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on Huawei’s devices through RCS business messaging. And Huawei users will be able to make video calls directly from Android Messages through carrier ViLTE and Google Duo.

In addition, to help carriers accelerate deployment of RCS messaging across their networks, we’re collaborating with Huawei to offer the Jibe RCS cloud and hub solution to current and prospective carrier partners, as part of an integrated solution with Huawei’s current infrastructure. This will enable a faster process for RCS services so more subscribers can get access to RCS messaging.

Huawei will begin integrating Android Messages across their portfolio in the coming months. For more information, see the following release.

Android

New devices and more: what’s in store for the Google Assistant this year

The Google Assistant is your personal Google. It lets you have a conversation and ask about everything under the sun and, best of all, it’s available wherever you need help—at home or on the go. Over the past year, we’ve been working to bring the Assistant to more devices in more places and now it’s available on more than 400 million devices.

Tomorrow marks the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV, and we’ll be there to showcase some of the exciting stuff we have in store for 2018. So if you’re at CES, stop on by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-21). Here we go!

At home

The Google Assistant gives you an easy, hands-free way to control your home, whether it’s helping you dim the lights from the comfort of your couch or play your dinner party playlist. It’s already lending a helping hand in speakers like Google Home, Mini and Max. In fact, we’ve sold more than one Google Home every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October. And with so much excitement around speakers, we’re making the Assistant even more available—this week we’re announcing that the Assistant is coming to new voice-activated speakers from Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio and SōLIS.

But there are also moments when a screen would make the Assistant even more helpful, like when you need to learn how to cut a pineapple, and the best way is to watch a video. Today, we’re announcing that the Assistant is coming to smart displays. These new devices have the Google Assistant built in, and with the added benefit of a touch screen, they can help you get even more done. You can watch videos from YouTube, video call with Google Duo, find photos from Google Photos and more. You can also get recommendations for your favorite content, right on the home screen.

Starting later this year, the Assistant is coming to new smart displays from four companies, including JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. To learn more about how smart displays were built, visit the Android Developers blog.

Last year we brought the Assistant to Android TV devices including NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV and Sony’s Android TVs, so you can find the latest blockbuster, stock up on snacks with Google Express and set the perfect movie watching mood lighting. We will continue to roll out the Assistant to existing Android TVs such as AirTV Player, Bouygues Telecom, LG U+, TCL, Skyworth and Xiaomi. And, this week, Changhong, Element, Funai, Haier, Hisense and Westinghouse are announcing new Android TVs with the Google Assistant. Plus, we’ve worked closely with LG to integrate the Assistant into the new line of LG TVs in the coming months.

And, across all your devices, the Google Assistant is making your home even smarter. The Assistant now works with over 225 home control brands and more than 1,500 devices, including a bunch of new ones from Abode, Crestron, Gourmia, Insteon, Kohler and Yonomi. With these integrations, millions of new smart home devices are being connected to the Assistant every month, so you can stay in control, whether you want to heat up the house, check on the laundry or make sure you locked the back door.

On your phone and headphones

The Google Assistant is available on your Android phone, iPhone, and headphones, helping you when you’re on the go. And this week we’re announcing that over the coming year, more headphones are on the way from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony. These headphones are optimized for the Google Assistant; once you pair them to your phone, you can talk to the Assistant instantly with just the touch of an earbud, whether you want to skip a track to hear the next song, get notifications, or hear and respond to your messages.

In your car

The Assistant can also help you in the car, so that you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Starting this week in the U.S., the Assistant is coming to Android Auto.

Android Auto is available in tens of millions of cars on more than 400 models from 40+ brands, including Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo. With the Assistant in Android Auto, you can listen to your playlists from apps like Spotify or Google Play Music, get quick directions from Google Maps or Waze, and send or receive messages from services like WhatsApp. And soon, you’ll be able to reserve a parking space with SpotHero or order your favorite handcrafted drink or food from Starbucks—all from the road.

You can use the Assistant in Android Auto on your car display by connecting your Android phone to a supported car—or you can use it on your phone screen in any car. And we’re working with auto makers to integrate the Assistant directly into their cars—no phone required.

With the Assistant on your phone, speaker or TV, you can also check your fuel level, lock doors, and more. This feature is already available on cars from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai—and today we’re announcing that it’ll be coming to cars from Kia and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Always ready to help

Since the Assistant can do so many things, we’re introducing a new way to talk about them. We’re calling them Actions. Actions include features built by Google—like directions on Google Maps—and those that come from developers, publishers and other third parties, like working out with Fitbit Coach. So finding photos with Google Photos would be one Action while meditating with Headspace would be another. All in all, today there are more than a million Actions you can take with your Assistant.

To help you discover the Actions available on the Assistant, we have a new directory page. You can also explore them with your Assistant on your Android phone or iPhone —just go to your Assistant, select the blue icon in the corner and dive in. And we bet you’ll find a few gems you never knew the Assistant could do. And the best part? We’re always adding more Actions.

That’s our news for the day. We’re just a few days into the new year and continuing to make the Assistant more helpful and more available, no matter what device you’re using. We can’t wait to see what you do with the Assistant this year.

Android