re/code has reported receiving a document detailing Pony Express - a google project that enables Gmail users to receive and pay bills from their inbox.
The document states that google would be partnering with third parties that send out paper bills for service providers.
Following an authentication process, a user would be able to pay their bills from gmail without going to an external website. Furthermore the project would allow a Gmail user to split a bill with another Gmail user.
With Pony Express, Google could suck in the type of financial data that would allow it to expand into new businesses. Credit card bills and payment history would be a gateway into industries such as personal finance or lending. And the data could be used to refine how advertisements are targeted to individuals on Google, YouTube and partnering sites, though such a move would likely stoke privacy concerns. It’s not clear whether Google would generate any revenue directly from the Pony Express service. The document features a step-by-step walk-through of how people can sign up. A Gmail user provides personal information such as their name, address and partial and full Social Security number to a third-party company that vets their identity.