At Mobile World Congress today Senior Vice President of Google Sundar Pichai revealed a handful of new projects the company is working on, including a new mobile payments solution called Android Pay (via The Verge).
Though only spoken of briefly, Pichai mentioned that the new service would take a decidedly more developer-focused route, calling Android Pay a "developer tool" that would give those developers considerable flexibility in how to implement the payments service.
He noted that the service was less a new consumer-level product and more of an "API layer" that will give other developers and companies the chance to build interesting mobile payment solutions on Android platforms.
"We are doing it in a way in which anybody else can build a payments service on top of Android," said Pichai. "So, in places like China and Africa we hope that people will use Android Pay to build innovative services."
Although Pichai did not explain the details of Android Pay to any great degree, he claimed it would "start with NFC" and eventually accommodate biometric sensors as well.
Google's news follows on the heels of Samsung's own entry into the contactless payment market with Samsung Pay just yesterday. Samsung's offering is set to be baked in to the upcoming Summer release of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones, which will include a fingerprint scanner to help secure mobile payments made on the device, falling far more in line as a direct competitor to Apple Pay than Google's new service.
Samsung is attempting to come out of the gate strong, with the company having already made deals with MasterCard and Visa to support the service and attempting to line up various other companies and banks before the new Galaxy phone launches this summer. The announcement appears to be a direct continuation of Samsung's acquisition of mobile payments-focused company LoopPay earlier in February, setting itself up to battle Apple Pay in the coming months.
Pichai noted during MWC that Android Pay is a bit more malleable of a service, not locking itself onto one specific phone or brand similar to Apple Pay or the upcoming Samsung Pay. He continued that the company doesn't mean to directly compete with Samsung's newly announced mobile payments service, and mentioned that Google wanted to "work closely [together] to see how we can align [with them]."