Only available for those in Maryland right now
In the modern smartphone market, convenience is the name of the game. Our handheld devices now allow contactless payments, switchable reverse wireless charging, and wireless file transfers over NFC. iPhones go a step further, allowing you to add a digital copy of government-issued ID cards to your phone, but Google is catching up with its own implementation that is currently in beta, and this beta gives us a good look at how the whole thing could work.
We saw Google preparing to add support for driving licenses and state IDs as a part of a Play System update earlier this month, but we didn’t have the specifics at the time or the visuals. Now, fresh screenshots from the Google Wallet app reveal a new beta option to add a state-issued ID card to the list of virtual documents, so you won’t need to carry it on your person. Adding a new ID seems straightforward.
Your virtual driver’s license or state ID can get you through (a few) TSA checkpoints in a jiffy, Google says. You just need to tap the ID, let the TSA review it, and proceed. The Wallet app dedicates one screen to explaining that once registered, your ID is encrypted on the device, so only you can access, share, and control what’s visible on it.
Just like Apple’s system, we believe Google has obtained the approval for driver’s licenses in the US. Presently, we only see Maryland in the list of supported states, but the app clearly states more will join the list soon. We believe states supporting Apple’s virtual ID system will also support Google’s implementation. However, there’s no word on expansion outside the US for now.
Adding your ID to Google Wallet is presently a limited beta feature. If you have access to the beta and are fortunately in a state that supports virtual IDs, we suggest you try it out yourself. This new feature makes Google Wallet a versatile app, now supporting Google Pay, transit passes, and digital IDs. We will keep an eye out for a wider rollout in the stable channel, hopefully with more than one supported state on the list.
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