A new setting to allow Voice Match to confirm purchases made through the Google Assistant has been spotted in the Assistant’s Payments and Security settings pane. We’ve confirmed with Google that the new feature is part of an early but limited pilot that allows you to authorize purchases in a handful of categories with just your voice via the Assistant. Piles of Google’s support documents have been recently updated to reference the feature.
There are a couple different ways to get to the Assistant’s Payments and Security settings pane, where the new setting lives, but the easiest to describe is via the Google app -> More -> Settings -> Google Assistant -> You -> Payments. There, you might see the new “Confirm with Voice Match” option, which is probably disabled by default. Enabling it brings you to a setup screen and additional Google account password confirmation, but that process isn’t working for everyone, with some of our tipsters reporting that it simply hangs interminably rather than advancing through the steps you see just below. Also note, we’ve tested that the toggle is present in versions of the Google app at least as old as v184.108.40.206.
After you enable the setting, you probably won’t notice anything has changed, even if you try to make a purchase via the Assistant. We’re told that this early pilot is limited to in-app digital purchases through Google Play and restaurant orders for the time being. It doesn’t appear to work in our own tests for things like Google Shopping (née Google Express).
Google has also published what we’re pretty sure is a new support document that describes how to enable or disable the feature. The only example it lists for voice-based payments is “in-action upgrades through Google Play digital goods.” That’s probably not the best way to say “in-app purchases,” but we’re told that’s what Google meant. A previous support document here that made no mention of the feature as of last December has also been updated to include Voice Match as confirmation for purchases, as has this page regarding Voice Match in general, which made no mention of the feature as of March.
While we weren’t initially sure just how new the feature was, a representative from Google has since confirmed that it is new and part of an early pilot program for Assistant-enabled speakers and smart displays. Purchases made in this manner are also subject to limits, including a maximum (but undefined and presumably price-based) limit per transaction, and a similarly nebulous number of transactions per day.
While there’s been no formal announcement regarding the feature from Google, given the season, it’s probably something the company had hoped to reveal at I/O, and we could be hearing more about it soon.
A representative from Google has since provided us with more details regarding the new feature, as well as confirming that it is a new early pilot/test. Our coverage above has been updated with these details.