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.

The Hands Free app for the iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

WarHeadz Avatar
107 months ago
1984 is approaching us faster than expected.
Technically it's approaching much slower than expected since that year is now 32 years in the past.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UnusedLoginID Avatar
107 months ago
And what's the secure part of this transaction for me if my phone gets stolen? I mean that picture of me will probably look like millions of other faces... Unlike a fingerprint!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruiserB Avatar
107 months ago
Yea, as hard as it is to find stores that take ApplePay/NFC, and as poorly educated as most cashiers seem at the places that do take it, I'm not optimistic I'm going to be able to say "I'll pay with Google" to anyone and not just have them give me a blank stare back.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GFF Avatar
107 months ago
To which the cashier replies 'I will slap you now'
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
107 months ago
So when the crook goes to the Walmart their friend works at to buy that $1000 TV and says I'll pay with Google, and they ok the transaction. Who pays to cover the fraud. I would much rather maintain control of the authority to process a transaction.
Walmart covers the fraud because it was done by their employee. Fires and has cashier arrested. Cashier turns on their friend. It'll all be on video anyway. Fraud would be handled no differently than it has always been handled.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
73b Avatar
107 months ago
Pay with Watch is pretty easy and seamless.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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