Project Pony Express: Google to make your Gmail inbox the best place to pay bills

25 Mar 2015

Google wants to end the paper trail of bills to your mailbox by making Gmail the destination of choice for electronic bills that you can pay directly from your inbox.

It is understood that Google is working on a project code-named Pony Express that lets Gmail users direct bills to a category within their Gmail inbox rather than add to the clutter of paper bills that clog up mailboxes – and in fairness, paper billing represents a 21st century privacy and security hazard.

The move makes sense if you envision a “bills” category alongside other categories that Gmail has created to better manage email such as Primary, Social, Updates, Promotions and Forums.

However, according to Re/Code the plans are even more evolved than this and include a mechanism to allow people pay their bills from within Gmail.


Google is understood to be partnering with third party vendors that print bills for insurance companies and telecoms firms as well as financial and telecoms companies directly.

Once a user’s details have been authenticated users can pay bills automatically via credit or debit card from their inbox on a desktop or mobile screen.

Such a move would also enable Google to work with brands to refine advertising to be more effective.

However, it also presents a potential debate over privacy and whether Google may be blurring the lines between personal and private data and its gigantic advertising engine.

However, such a move makes sense for Google which has over 475m Gmail users. It creates an intrinsic and necessary service that people will use and could be seen as a way of countering the threat of other rapidly emerging payment models like Apple Pay.

Pony Express image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years