Google Assistant prepares to let you pay for gas from your phone
Remember CES? It seems like the world’s biggest tech event happened ages ago, so it’s easy to forget that so many new products and services were announced there. Take, for example, Amazon’s new “Pay for Gas” service for Alexa. The feature lets drivers ask Alexa to handle fuel payments at over 11,000 gas stations across the U.S. All you have to do is pull up to the pump, launch Alexa, say “pay for gas”, and then follow the directions to activate the pump to refuel your car. Based on code within the latest version of the Google App — version 126.96.36.199 to be precise — it looks like Google is preparing to add a similar feature to Google Assistant.
In the latest version of the Google App, there’s a new string titled “aa_pay_for_gas_query.” This is one of those hardcoded queries that the Google Assistant can recognize, alongside several others such as one to play calming sounds.
<string name="aa_pay_for_gas_query">Pay for gas.</string>
Digging deeper into the APK, we spotted evidence that this new feature can be launched in another way: through the At A Glance widget on the launcher. When you arrive at a gas station, the At A Glance widget will be updated to say “At [station name].” Tapping the widget will send an intent to view https://pay.google.com/gas/payment (likely to be recognized by the Google Pay app) with several URI parameters, including the brand and store ID. Presumably, this means you’ll be able to pay for gas with the Google Assistant at multiple different gas station chains. Amazon Alexa, for example, lets you pay at over 11,500 locations from Exxon and Mobil.
There’s not much code within the Google App detailing this feature, and we haven’t been able to activate it ourselves yet. That means you should take this news with a grain of salt, but given that Amazon has already rolled out a similar feature for Alexa, it makes perfect sense for Google to follow suit with Assistant.
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.