Hands Free payments by Google

Google Hands FreeNow that Android Pay is available in the UK as well as the US, it’s worth taking a look at Google’s plans to make it a part of our every day life shopping experience.

Of course you can pay on line blah blah blah, but what’s much more interesting is how Google will persuade us (or at least everyone except Barclays customers who won’t get it) to use Android Pay off line as our preferred contactless payment method.

Android phone users will now be able to use contactless with their mobile once they’ve added a supported credit or debit card to their Android Pay account, but Google are already looking beyond contactless with Hands Free by Google, very reminiscent of PayPal Check In. If you’re unfamiliar with PayPal Check In, the PayPal app enables you to ‘Check In’ to a local business who will then see your profile picture on their till and can charge your account without you having to present a payment card or even your mobile.

Hands Free by Google

Google are proposing a similar solution and have been testing for a couple of months. The difference to PayPal Check in is that Hands Free does away with the need to sign in on your mobile before you go to pay. The Hands Free app uses Bluetooth low energy, WiFi, location services, and other sensors on your phone to detect whether you are near a participating store

Hands Free by Google enables you to pay hands-free, without fumbling with your phone or opening the Hands Free app. The cashier can only charge you when Hands Free detects that your phone is near the store.

Google 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.

Currently Hands Free by Google is being trialled in the South Bay area of San Francisco. If it works expect Google to roll it out quickly across the States and doubtless the UK will be second in line now that Android Pay has also launched here.