Google Pay issues major update to its API for Passes

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UPGRADE: From left to right — new high-priority notifications; integration of Myki card inside of Google Maps, new transit tickets, automatic Gmail import

Google has announced a suite of upgrades for transportation operators, airlines and loyalty card issuers that extends the functionality of its Google Pay API for Passes — and revealed future plans to make Passes “available to your users on Google even if they haven’t installed the Google Pay app”.

The additions include an open API and dynamic barcodes for transit operators, high-priority notifications and a Google Assistant integration for airlines, and a Gmail integration for loyalty card issuers.

The planned future access to Passes for users who haven’t installed the Google Pay app, meanwhile, will be available first for boarding passes and transit tickets and will then be extended to other types of Passes later.

“The Google Pay API for Passes lets you connect your business to millions of Android users by linking your loyalty programs, gift cards, offers, boarding passes, and event tickets to their Google accounts,” Google explains.

“This year, we’re launching new capabilities and integrations that will help you engage customers at more times and places.”

“If you’re a transit provider and currently offer barcode tickets for your transportation services, you can now utilize the Passes API to get your tickets digitized in Google Pay,” the company says.

“We’ll also be enhancing this API to support dynamic barcodes. The barcodes on customers’ transit tickets or passes will update every few seconds — even if their device is offline. This allows you to increase security — since your QR codes are changing all the time, it makes it harder to duplicate the ticket.”

High-priority notifications for boarding passes will enable Google Pay to send airline passengers “a high-priority notification with their boarding pass just a few hours before their flight so they can easily access it when needed,” Google says.

“They’ll also receive notifications with important dynamic information like gate changes or flight delays. These notifications are high priority and will stay prominent on passengers’ phones until they dismiss it or their flight takes off.”

Integration with the Google Assistant, meanwhile, will enable passengers to check-in to a flight by saying simply, “Hey Google, check in to my flight”, and then, once checked in, be issued with a boarding pass that can be accessed from the Assistant or from Google Pay.

“This is built on top of the Passes API, which means that as an airline, if you’ve already added support for boarding passes, you can just add the check-in with the Assistant integration on top of it,” Google says.

With the loyalty integration with Gmail, meanwhile, customers will be able to “import your loyalty cards to Google Pay right from Gmail — just by adding some markup to your emails.

“When customers open the Google Pay app, they’ll be shown any loyalty cards from Gmail they haven’t added to Google Pay. With just a tap, they can add them all automatically so they can access them at any time.”

“This feature is currently only available with loyalty programs, but we’ll be expanding to other types of passes in the future,” Google adds.