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Google trials a hands-free payment app in San Francisco

Nurdianah Md Nur | March 3, 2016
Customers can now pay for their meals at selected McDonald's and Papa John's stores in the South Bay area by talking.

In future, you may no longer need to present any physical "thing" (be it cash, cards or mobile devices) to pay - all you need to do is to talk to make a payment.

In an effort to realise this, Google is trialling its Hands Free app in San Francisco. After installing the app, it will detect nearby participating stores using Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi and location services on the phone. Users can make a purchase at those stores by simply telling the cashier at checkout "I'll pay with Google." The cashier will then ask for the customer's initials, and check if he/she matches the photo of the Hands Free profile photo to confirm the identity.

To further ease the verification process, Google is experimenting with visual identification in selected stores, which uses in-store cameras to automatically confirm the customers' identity based on his/her Hands Free profile pictures. Images are immediately deleted after the verification process to allay privacy concerns.

Google is offering up to US$5 discount for Hands Free purchases at participating stores. Those stores include McDonald's, Papa John's, and local eateries in the South Bay area. 


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