Google launches experimental hands-free payments app

By , Mar 4, 2016

Hands Free teaser 001

Hands Free, a new Google app for iOS and Android, allows you to pay for in-store purchases without even pulling a smartphone out of your pocket. The Internet giant said that they’re piloting the new app so for the time being it’s available to South Bay residents.

Those who would test the app shall be treated to up to $5 off their first Hands Free purchase at participating stores, which include a small number of McDonald’s, Papa John’s and local eateries in the area.

So, how does Hands Free work?

It’s really straightforward, you just install and set up the app and it will use Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi and location services on your phone to detect whether you’re near a participating store.

“When you’re ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, ‘I’ll pay with Google’,” explains the company. “The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity.”

Some participating stores even use an experimental visual identification feature to speed up the checkout process. This works by using an in-store camera to automatically confirm users’ identity based on their Hands Free profile picture.

“All images captured by the Hands Free camera are deleted immediately,” said Google.

To learn more about the Hands Free pilot, visit the official website.

Interestingly, Google also revealed that its Android Pay mobile payment platform has averaged 1.5 million new registrations each month in the United States alone and there are now over two million locations that accept tap and pay.

Hands Free is available free of charge in the App Store.

Source: Google

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  • I’ve not noticed any inconsistency.
    I did however notice it’s natural flow, animations, ease of navigation, and legible fonts. If anything, at this point it’s iOS that feels inconsistent as things feel bolted on to pre iOS 7 days (i.e. app switcher, share sheet, use of widgets, etc.)

  • Benedict

    Why wait? I guess people already do so and don’t have any issues. And you still did not mention how you should target them different in contrast to newer versions which also have exploits. If you don’t turn off the build in security you stay mostly safe.

    • Sigit

      A little percentage of people use that feature, when the thing expands to more countries, more users to attack, more money to subtract. And always the target is the platform that is more fragmented, with users more still using their phones long time (2-3 years) without any security updates. Long time builds, more time to exploit them!

      • Benedict

        If there is enough time to develop lots of malware it also means that those methods are known by security systems and their databases. A 2 years old android system will find the same malware if installed automatically as a up-to-date system. So no need to worry.

      • Sigit

        Enough time for stole what? Photos, Facebook, Instagram Passwords? that’s not interesting. When the whole world operates with banks accounts paying things with their mobile, the game changes . And still millions of Android users that don’t know how to update their phones and don’t know what means builds, security updates or whatever.

      • Benedict

        Androids don’t need necessarily a firmware update to react to security issues. With the Google Services which run in the background on every device from 2.3 the system gets silent updated which also include the mechanism to protect agains the latest malware. That means, devices from 2011 and so 99,9% of all which run the Playstore are protected agains malware automatically.
        So you can’t compare Android to an iOS update.

      • Sigit

        Sure. It runs Google Services if you put a Gmail account. If not. You don’t get any Google update in backgroung. And is free for the user to bypass this process.

        A lot of people only interested in Facebook, WhatsApp and Installing .Apk cause are not interested in pay for any Apps, even uses alternative Markets.

        Of course you can’t compare Android and iOS

      • Benedict

        These are Android forks mostly in China and are sometimes not even recognizable as Android. What device is really “secure” in China is another question to consider. The other part are custom roms where the user definitely knows what he is doing or Amazon’s OS which is also very limited and therefore secure.
        The bigger part has Google Services. Because Apple does not have anything like this, iOS can’t be compared.

  • zoLa siWisa

    Loose your phone tomorrow and see how fast I will be in your file in less than seconds. IOS is a beast if FBI I struggling to crack it

  • Great article to read about Google payment app.