Google Trials Hands Free Mobile Payment Service That Authenticates Using Your Face

It appears that Google isn’t content with having a standardized fingerprint-authorized payment system, Android Pay, for its Android smartphone platform. The company is always thinking two steps ahead, looking to test the next biggest thing. Today, the latest glimmer in Google’s eye is its Hands Free mobile payments system.

As its name implies Hands Free doesn’t require you to touch your smartphone or even place a finger on a fingerprint reader. Instead, you can leave your smartphone in your pocket or purse and still complete a transaction.

Google HandsFree

First of all, you will need to download and install the app, which is available for both Android and iOS. From there, you need to complete your profile (including payment information) and you’re all set. When visiting a participating retailer or restaurant, paying for your order is a simple as saying “I'll pay with Google.” The cashier will then confirm your identity by comparing your face to your profile image setup within the Hands Free app, and your initials.

Google also adds the following disclaimer:

At select stores, we are also running very early experiments using visual identification to further simplify the checkout process. This process uses an in-store camera to automatically confirm your identity based on your Hands Free profile picture. All images and data from the Hands Free in-store camera are used only to confirm your identity for each Hands Free purchase. Images and data from the Hands Free in-store camera are deleted immediately, can't be accessed by the store, and is not sent to or saved to Google servers.

Hands Free works using a combination of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and location services. As a result, unlike other mobile payment services including Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, or even Android Pay, Hands Free will work with much older devices. Google says that it will work with any Android 4.2 or newer smartphone or iPhones dating back to the iPhone 4s.

Unfortunately, Hands Free is currently limited to pilot tests in South Bay, which is near San Francisco. Even more disappointing is the fact that it can only be used at two different stores: McDonald’s and Papa John’s. We’ve seen some limited pilot trials before, but this one definitely takes the cake!