Google Wants To Kill The Physical Wallet: Bringing Digital Driver's Licenses To Android

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Google is apparently working on a new API that would be able to store a digital version of your license on your smartphone. This is being called the IdentityCredential API, and it's still in its early form. XDA-Developers, who originally saw the code about this new API, doesn't believe that it will make its way into Android Q, seeing as that preview is only a couple weeks away. But does believe it'll be available in Android R, next year.

Obviously, when it comes to storing important things like a driver's license, on your smartphone, security is a big deal. Which is why there is an actual API for this, and not just taking a photo of your license to store in your camera roll. You can of course secure your phone with your fingerprint or a PIN, but that won't matter if your device is compromised. Not to mention, if your phone doesn't have any juice to turn on, it becomes useless.

Google is looking to make sure that won't be an issue with the new IdentityCredential API. It wants to be able to still turn on the device with almost no juice, to show things like a digital driver's license. It also appears that Google is going to be using hardware like the Titan M key found in the Pixel 3, to secure this data, so that it is less likely to be hacked or stolen. Even if your phone is stolen.

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There's not a whole lot of information available yet, in regards to this API. The commit was just submitted pretty recently, and didn't offer a lot of information. But given how early it is in development of this new API, we more than likely won't see it released in Android Q. If anything it'll be part of Android R or even later on. Depending on how much trouble Google is having with getting the API to work.

Google has already given us very little reason to even need a wallet these days. With Google Pay replacing just about everything in our wallet, except for our license. Now if this new API is able to launch, and be as secure as Google is saying it will be, a physical wallet could be a thing of the past. Imagine needing to go somewhere quickly, and not needing to remember your wallet, just your phone and your keys. It'll make things much easier.

Some States have already started developing apps that have mobile driver's licenses available, like Louisiana for example. Where there is an app that has been approved by law enforcement, to show cops your driver's license. This makes it much quicker at traffic stops, as you won't need to reach into your back pocket. It may not sound like a huge deal to a lot of people, but it is a pretty big deal. And it's going to feel like we are living in the future once it actually happens.

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Don't expect this API to be part of Android Q, don't even expect Google to talk about it until at least 2020.