Google wants restaurants to recognize your face so you can buy anything without carrying a wallet
The company is rolling out its "Hands Free" payments feature in select restaurants in California's Bay Area which will let people who have the app strut into an eatery, order, and check out simply by saying ""I'll pay with Google."Cashiers then ask for your initials and double-check that the picture uploaded to the Hands Free app actually looks like you. VoilÀ! The company is also testing just letting you use your face for verification, through an in-store camera that would snap a quick photo.
Google isn't the first one to try going down this path, either. Square tried hands free payments way back in 2011, but ended up shutting down the app that offered it. PayPal has a hands-free option too.Google's had a long, complicated history with payments. It launched a near-field communications payments product called Google Wallet back in 2011, but ended up replacing that system with Android Pay late last year, and pivoting Wallet to a peer-to-peer money sending app (like Venmo).
Even though technically Google was early on payments, its missteps, clunky roll-out, and late relaunch position it, at least recognition-wise, a few steps behind Apple, which has a tap-n-go payments system called Apple Pay.Although Hands Free doesn't require that users have Android Pay - the app works for iOS, too - Google's likely hoping that this seamless experience will help the service take off and spread to more retailers.Google mentions in its post that since it launched Android Pay, there are now over 2 million locations that accept tap and pay.
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