Google Assistant Now Allows Digital Goods Purchases and Streamlines Account Linking
Google Assistant now supports the sale of digital goods and a streamlined account linking and account creation process based on Google Sign-in. Tarun Jain, Group PM, Actions on Google, announced the new features in a blog post earlier today and said:
“While we’ve offered transactions for physical goods for some time, starting today, you will also be able to offer digital goods, including one time purchases like upgrades–expansion packs or new levels, for example–and even recurring subscriptions directly within your Action.”
Jain says that transactions can be completed within a conversation on smart speakers, smartphones and smart displays. Headspace and Volley’s Castle Master game are offered as examples of completing a transaction on the mobile phone or on a smart speaker.
In addition, developers will be able to manage user status and purchases across Google Assistant Actions and Android apps to create continuity regardless of access point. Digital goods management will be available through Play Console. This new feature will of particular interest to content creators in media and gaming.
Manage User Personalization and Account Linking with Google Sign-in
Another significant feature update is the introduction of Google Sign-in for Google Assistant Actions. This is particularly important if you offer a premium status for users. Documentation for the new feature offers this summary of how it will work:
“Your Action can request access to your user’s Google profile during a conversation, including the user’s name, email address, and profile picture…The profile information can be used to create a personalized user experience in your Action. If you have apps on other platforms and they use Google Sign-In, you can also find and link to an existing user’s account, create a new account, and establish a direct channel of communication to the user. To perform account linking with Google Sign-In, you ask the user to give consent to access their Google profile. You then use the information in their profile, for example their email address, to identify the user in your system.”
This is much easier than the previous process where users would need to type in a username and password or create a new account. That approach also took them out of a conversational experience. The Google Sign-in option offers a streamlined account linking or creation flow that can be done in conversation and even in a voice only interaction. Google reports that Starbucks login conversion “nearly doubled” with Google Sign-in over the previous approach that required manual user login.
Google will continue to support OAuth account linking as well as Google Sign-in. However, Google Sign-in is going to dramatically reduce friction for initial conversation and account linking so it is likely to be a popular choice among developers and users. It is important that these features were introduced together because the sale of digital goods requires the proper assignment to user accounts which to date has been a process with heavy friction which undermines conversion rates. The ability to sell digital good combined with an easier account creation process are the necessary components to help voice app publishers with their monetization programs.