So Chrome custom tabs is a feature that gives developers a way to harness all of Chrome’s capabilities while still keeping control of the look and feel of the experience. And we’ve been working with our friends over at Pinterest on this and I’d like to show you a sample of what’s possible.
So here I am in the Pinterest app. Let’s tap on something interesting. Now when I tap on a web link at the bottom, you’ll notice that there is a custom transition automation into Chrome custom tabs. Now, remember, this is actually the Chrome browser now running on top of your app. And the custom tab is branded the same color as Pinterest which feels like one experience and you can even see that Pinterest has added a custom button to the toolbar to pin pages. And they can also add additional items to Chrome’s overflow menu up at the top right. Finally, the back button gives an easy way to seamlessly go into the app.
So the custom tab was super fast to load because Pinterest was able to ask Chrome ahead of time to pre-fetch the content. And of course the real benefit is for users. With Chrome custom tabs, you’re signed nto your favorite sites since it uses Chrome state and you get all of Chrome’s feature such as save passwords, auto filling forms, Google Translate and more. And of course you also get the benefits of Chrome security model of. So Chrome custom tabs is available today on the Chrome dev channel and we’re excited about rolling it out to users in Q3 this year. So that’s an example of how we’re improving the web experience, when you want to link from an app to the web.
Now I’d like to talk to you about some improvements we’re doing when you want to link from an app to another app. And linking is, of course, one of those fundamental principles of the web. It brings different websites together as part of a natural user experience flow. And as more and more web destinations get corresponding rich app experiences, for example, the YouTube app or the Twitter app, we see different attempts to enable linking between apps so as to apply those same fundamental principles of the web.
Now, Android’s intent system already provides a powerful way to enable an app to advertise that it can handle rendering of a particular link pattern but one of the limitations of the current system is that when a user selects a web link from somewhere, Android doesn’t know whether to show it in a web browser or some other app that claims support for the link. As a result, Android will show the infamous disambig dialog to ask a user to choose. No. So in the “M” release we’re enhancing Android’s intent system to provide a more powerful app linking capability. Apps can now add an auto verify attribute to their application manifest to indicate that they want the links they claim they support to be verified by the platform. The Android platform will then make a request to the web server pointed to by the links at app installation time and look for a file containing the name and signature of the application. This enables Android to verify that the app owns the links it claims it does.
So now, when I, as a user, tap on a verified link, let’s say a Twitter link I received in an email, the Android platform will seamlessly write me to the Twitter app with no more disambig dialog. So by putting app linking directly in the platform we greatly improve the core user experience.
Okay. So next up we want to give you a preview of an important initiative we’re working on which we call Android Pay, and it builds on a work we did in previous Android releases such as near-field communications or NFC in Gingerbread and Host Card Emulation which we introduced in Kitkat. With Android Pay, users can simply and safely use their Android phone to pay in stores. Wherever they see the Android Pay logo or the NFC logo or, indeed, in thousands of Android Pay partner apps.
Android Pay is focused on simplicity, security and choice. It’s simple because all you have to do is unlock your phone like normal, place it in front of the NFC terminal to pay, and there’s no need to open any app. It’s that easy. It’s secure because when you add a card for use with Android Pay, a virtual account number is created, which is then used to process your payment. Your actual card number is not shared with the store during the transaction. And you have a choice. We built Android Pay as an open platform, so people will be able to choose the most convenient way to activate Android Pay, either through our app or through any supported banking app. And we’re working with leading financial institutions so you can securely use your existing debit and credit cards with Android Pay. And, of course, we’re also working with major U.S. mobile carriers, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to ensure that whenever you buy a new phone you can walk out the door ready to go. And, of course, Android Pay works with any Android device with NFC.
Android Pay will work in over 700,000 stores in the U.S. which accept contactless payments, including retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, McDonald’s and so much more. Android Pay will also be available in app from developers selling physical goods and services to help you speed through the checkout process. So leading developers like Lyft, Grubhub and Groupon and more will be offering Android Pay in their app soon.
So we are at the start of an exciting journey. We believe the same partnership model that fueled Android’s growth from a single device seven years ago to now more than a billion users will enable Android Pay to be successful too, and we’re working closely with payment networks, banks and developers to bring mobile payments to Android users around the world with the rollouts starting in parallel to launching “M” this year.
Now Android Pay works on phones from KitKat 4th but with the “M” release Android Pay gets even better because it turns out that Android device makers have been including fingerprint sensors on devices since 2011, for example with the Motorola Atrix and most recently with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6. In M, we are taking the opportunity to standardized support for fingerprint in Android. So it works across a breadth of sensors and devices and exposes a standard API to developers.