Google is launching a pilot program for a new mobile payments solution, separate from Android Pay, called Hands Free. Available to residents of the South Bay (Bay Area, California), Hands Free allows you to pay for goods at select retailers without ever touching your phone.
The process is quite easy. In a store or restaurant you will get your goods, walk up to the cashier, then state to the person behind the counter, “I’ll pay with Google.” At that time, the cashier will confirm your identity via photograph and name initials thanks to a connection over Bluetooth to your smartphone and the Hands Free app, then you are on your way. A receipt will be sent to your phone to help you keep track of your transactions.
To make things even more Minority Report-like, get a load of what Google claims in its blog post for Hands Free.
At select stores, we’re also in the early stages of experimenting with visual identification so that you can breeze through checkout even faster. This process uses an in-store camera to automatically confirm your identity based on your Hands Free profile picture. All images captured by the Hands Free camera are deleted immediately.
Borderline creepy, yet awesome, right?
Even though the pilot is extremely limited at this time, anyone can download the app and setup their account. You will need to have a credit card on file from Android Pay or Google Wallet, and you will also need to provide a photograph of yourself. You can also request the service in your area, but who knows how long that will take.
Usually, another mobile payment solution is the last thing I’d say the world needs, but this sounds pretty sweet and futuristic.