For Android users, this could be the end parking tickets as we know them. At least, that’s the promise Google makes with its latest update.
Google announced Thursday a slew of new features that rolled out through its latest software update, including the ability for users to pay for parking using their voice through a partnership with Parkmobile. The goal is to help drivers eliminate the pain points of paying at the meter when it’s too cold, a meeting runs longer than expected or the cup holder doesn’t have enough quarters.
This partnership is the latest example of Google’s push into transportation, including adding biking and ride-hailing in Google Maps, developing a digital key and working with automakers to integrate its Android operating system in vehicles.
Parking is the low-hanging fruit that helps Google integrate even further into consumers’ daily lives. This partnership with Parkmobile has limited reach for now. But if the past hints at what’s to come, Google will be adding partners in no time.
The voice parking feature is as straightforward as it sounds. Once you park in a spot, say “Hey Google, pay for parking,” and follow Google Assistant’s prompts to pay from your phone. Google Pay handles the transaction.
“No more coins, no more confusion,” Google promises.
Part of the confusion stems from the patchwork of parking apps available to download. The pay-for-parking function cuts through the clutter by defaulting to ParkMobile, the leading app coordinating parking zones across more than 400 U.S. cities.
The Android upgrade will also help you check how much time is left on the meter and add time with voice command. Just say, “Hey Google, parking status” or “Hey Google, extend parking.”
It also matters because it’s another way Google is tapping into your car to track your personal information, including your vehicle’s whereabouts. And it’s a win for Google in its war against Apple for your data.
For Apple, Google, and Amazon, too, the ability to listen in on your car gives them more opportunities to sell you subscription services or sell your information to third parties eager to tailor their ads to your driving habits, location, and more. More data leads to massive opportunities for the tech giants to reap more revenue.
Last year, Google and Parkmobile enabled an option to pay for street parking via Google Maps, but the ability to pay by voice is a leap forward for Android users, Google, and Parkmobile — as well as potential third-party customers hungry for targeted data.