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Google Assistant can now help you transfer money to friends

The new ability is available on Android and iOS for Google Pay users. It'll roll out to Google's smart speakers in the coming months.

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"Hey, Google, request $1,000 from Alfred."

Chris Monroe/CNET

Need to send money to a friend? Now you can ask Google Assistant to handle the transaction.

How the new Google Assistant capability works.

Google

Starting Thursday, Google's digital assistant will be able to manage peer-to-peer money transfers using Google Pay on Android and iOS. People will be able to ask the assistant via voice or text things like "Hey Google, request $15 from Sam" or "Hey, Google, send Asher $20 for lunch today."

The free service will reach Google's smart speaker "in the coming months," the company said.

Google Assistant's new abilities come as Google and Amazon are battling each other for dominance in the new world of digital assistants. Both tech titans are continually adding new features and partnerships to Google Assistant, on the one hand, and Amazon's Alexa, on the other, to stay one step ahead.

With Google rolling out peer-to-peer money transfers, there's now greater likelihood Amazon will match with a similar service through Amazon Pay, as it's done with past Google Assistant skills. That effort may already be in the works. Last week, CNET reported that the software firm Daon was developing a money transfer service on Alexa that some banks may introduce later this year.

Google Assistant's new skill could also create more competition for Square, Zelle, and PayPal's Venmo, all of which offer money transfer apps.

Using Google Assistant, your funds to others will be transferred "almost instantaneously," Google said. The recipient will need to be in your contacts and be signed up for Google Pay to cash out.

If you try to send money without having first set up an account with Google Pay, the assistant will ask you to link your debit card to the account before proceeding.

The money transfer capability is available for now only in the US and only in English.

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