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Google India launches payment service that sends money as sound

Playing catchup?

Alipay has been doing this for years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Playing catchup?

I was going to point out the same obvious thing.

And before Alipay, I've seen a French prototype credit card from the mid-2000's that was using the same principle (though this was not meant for mobile phone use at the time).

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Paris Hilton

Is sound really the best way?

Wouldn't actual QR codes be harder to subvert or tamper with? I would prefer NFC myself, though I guess that wouldn't work with iPhones (they have NFC, but only Apple can use it). Sound seems a very brittle solution.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is sound really the best way?

Sound is only the medium, just another kind of wavelength. It's not more or less easy to tamper than NFC, that will only depend on what transits on the wave, ie, how it's encrypted and what kind of user confirmation is needed.

The obvious advantage is that there are many more phones equipped with a microphone and speaker (duh...) than with NFC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is sound really the best way?

The obvious advantage is that there are many more phones equipped with a microphone and speaker (duh...) than with NFC.

The 1970s called, they'd like their acoustic couplers back

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Re: Is sound really the best way?

Sound seems a very brittle solution

As a very short range link, I don't see any problems not already present in other contactless systems. But I do wonder about the comment that this is ultrasonic - are the speakers and mics (and signal processors) all capable of doing ultrasonic communication properly?

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Silver badge

Re: Is sound really the best way?

I think "audio QR" is an incorrect or novel term. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code doesn't mention a version in sound, and Google of "audio QR" initially produces web pages about "how tu put an audio file on the Internet and then make a QR code that finds that file and plays it".

As I understand it, QR is specifically a format for a two-dimensional image which contains an encoded data file. You scan the image, decode it, and you have the file. Very commonly, the file contains a URL which is the address of further data. My weekly bus ticket now is a QR code on paper; it may or may not be a signed data file which represents a valid ticket for the current week - also presumably there's some tracking to prevent me selling photocopies of it to friends: if more than one person seeming to be using the same ticket then you get stopped. Having said that, I probably shouldn't flash it around at other times in case someone photographs it. Of course a criminal could just steal my actual ticket...

"audio QR" evidently is an ultrasonic data standard which similarly transmits a file, and it may not even have a proper name in English (one that isn't embarrassing). It needs electronic audio equipment to send and receive it but it doesn't need a visual display or printer or camera, so maybe that works better in India. It's probably pretty fast, and, being ultrasonic, it won't easily be recorded by a third party or send over actual phone lines, which filter down to spoken-word frequencies. And tapping it may do you no good anyway if it's like my bus ticket but only actually valid during the split-second that it's transmitted.

My basic impression of India from many many miles away, but watching it on television, is that it's d--- noisy - from (not) watching films like "Gandhi" and even before you consider the background music as well. On the other hand, slightly more reflection tells me, accurately or not, that lots of India is miles and miles from anywhere. No doubt the developers of the "Tez" dispenser have both of these situations in mind.

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Bronze badge

Re: Is sound really the best way?

I'm not sure how the ultrasonic audio is passed over band limited phone line (and neither the microphone nor speaker are of particularly high quality). Why not do it the data link (especially that smartphone app imply access to raw data link)?

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wow

So when you say "I bought it for a song..."

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Facepalm

Sounds about as secure as the Play store's ability to keep malware out. I'll pass, thanks.

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>> I'll pass, thanks.

You Indian?

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