A new Google app will let you pay with your voice. On Wednesday, the search giant released a new app which allows people to pay for their items in stores by simply telling the cashier that they will pay with Google. The app is called Hands Free, probably because there is no use of hands, just voice.
How Hands Free works
Hands Free is separate from Google’s Android Pay mobile payments app and works by tracking your location with the use of Wi-Fi and other sensors in your smartphone. It detects whether you are near a participating store or not. And if you are, you can go inside the store, pick up what you want, and tell the cashier, “I’ll pay with Google.” The shop owner/cashier will confirm your identity by using your initials and the photo uploaded onto the Hands Free app.
Google is also testing an in-store camera at some stores that will verify your identity automatically based on your Hands Free profile picture. The picture and data about the person immediately get deleted by these cameras and cannot be accessed by the store, Google said.
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Currently, only Android and Apple phones support the app, which is being tested at a few locations in the San Francisco area, including some McDonald’s and Papa John’s locations.
Will Google make payments easier?
Google’s idea of paying with your voice is not new. Square, a payments company, attempted in 2011 to make its app Square Wallet (similar to Hands Free) work, but it didn’t, so the app was discontinued in 2014. The obstacle was that only a few retailers joined the program, and this reduced the app’s merits.
Magnetic-stripe cards, which have been used for the past 40 years, are the only significant alternative to paying with cash or check. Therefore, tech companies have been trying to create apps to make payments easier and prompt, and Hands Free is just one of those many experiments.
Though there are many new ways now to pay, customers are still not able to adopt them, partly because they are not convinced enough to upgrade from paying with plastic to paying with their phone’s app. But Hands Free can gain their support if it is able to save a lot of time.