Google today announced a pilot program for its "Hands Free" payment service, allowing customers in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area to pay for goods and services over Bluetooth using a photograph for confirmation.
Hands Free, as the name implies, is aimed at allowing people to make purchases without the need to pull out a phone or a wallet. It requires customers to create a profile (with photo) through the Hands Free app, available for both iOS and Android. When in a location that supports Hands Free payments, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and location services on the phone will communicate with the store's cash point-of-sale system.
When ready to make a payment, customers can say "I'll pay with Google," and the cashier will confirm the payment using the person's initials and the photo associated with the Hands Free app, both of which are displayed to the cashier on the cash register. In select locations, Google is also using a visual identification via an in-store camera to confirm identity based on the Hands Free profile picture.
As with Android Pay, Hands Free does not transmit full card details to retailers, and purchases made send notifications to the accompanying phone. Google says it sends alerts if any unusual activity is detected and suspicious transactions won't go through without approval.
Hands Free payment options are currently available at select locations in the South Bay, including McDonald's and Papa John's Pizza.