The new Google Pay app is now official, together with Google's upcoming Plex banking. But in case you missed it, the new app has one killer new feature: The ability to search through Google Photos and Gmail for receipts. That means, rather than being limited to transactions that appear in your Plaid-tied bank account, you can search even more granularly for specific purchases, down to keywords tied to a single item that may have appeared on a receipt, and pull up those details all together at once. Itemizing deductions for 2020 is going to be a whole lot easier.
It's not the most intuitive workflow, but if you tap the frustratingly non-descriptive "See more" button in the Insights tab, you're prompted to set up Gmail and Google Photos integration, allowing Google to trawl both looking for bills and receipts.
Once enabled, you can perform a search for anything, and results in the Google Pay app will return content from receipts stored in Google Photos or your email. And that doesn't just mean searching for the names of retailers; you can also search for specific items you've purchased, from individual product names like "Pixel 4a" or something more generic like "camera" or "envelopes." But it doesn't stop there.
Google collates together all the various data sources into a single screen, showing the receipt if it's available, the name of the retailer attached to your bank statement, the location (presumably gathered from the retailer name in your bank statement, or maybe an address included on the receipt), the card used to purchase it, and the transaction ID.
In isolation, this might seem like a novelty, but come tax season, it will make tracking down specific receipts for deductions a whole hell of a lot easier, and I'm already looking forward to it. As someone that had to give up on other similar solutions due to errors combing data, this appears to work exceedingly well, and I urge anyone comfortable with using Plaid's integration with your bank to give it a try.
Alternate title: The new Google Pay is better at rifling through your receipts than a bitter ex