Google is now reportedly testing the addition of a new Google Pay interface in the power button menu on Pixel handsets running Android 10. In the new interface, the power off, restart, screenshot, and emergency buttons are moved to the bottom of the screen. The effect is very similar to how Samsung's OneUI approaches things, in that everything's in easy thumb's reach. But Google reserves the top half of the UI for tap-to-pay options.
That upper segment of the new interface is interactive too. Rather than just showcasing the default payment method, users can swipe between cards stored in the Google Pay app. Just above that, Google has placed a "Hold to reader" prompt alongside an appropriate icon.
What are the implications of the new Google Pay Power Menu options?
The interface showing up in testing indicates that users will be able to long-press their power button and immediately use NFC payment methods. In this case, the power menu option seems to be explicitly linked to Google's own variant of that, Google Pay. That should make access easier on-the-fly while shopping, summarily making everything more convenient.
As noted above, that has the added benefit of putting other power menu options within easy thumb's reach. Samsung has been driving forward a similar design approach with its UI since the launch of OneUI. The general idea is to keep less-interactive content near the upper half of the screen. That prevents users from having to overextend when interacting with menus — making one-handed use easier with larger handsets.
It isn't immediately clear whether or not users will be able to customize that experience at all. The new power menu options may ultimately be tied directly to Google Pay as the only payment option. That's the only option available now.
However, a second settings page reported may point to something more customizable. That's specifically the "com.android.settings.Settings$GlobalActionsPanelSettingsActivity," activity. Currently, that's only launchable directly using an activity launcher but its use "com.android" hints that it could come to all Android devices at some point.
The settings page in question is currently all but blank. So the options available on the settings page might deliver additional tap-interactive and NFC app options but that's still unknown.
When might this rollout officially start?
The new Google Pay options and interface for the Android power menu have appeared on several Pixel-branded handsets in Android 10. But they haven't appeared on a wider scale just yet, implying that this may be a small, pre-launch test of the feature.
There are a few different conclusions that could be drawn from that. As mentioned, the indication is this will roll for all Android devices at some point but it could be limited to Pixel handsets for at least some time still.
Conversely, it may be the case that Google plans the feature to roll out as part of Android 11, with only the testing occurring on Pixel-branded handsets. That would make sense since Google has had more control over the overall software environment on Pixel gadgets. Android 11 is still several months away, with at least 5 pre-launch beta periods remaining.