Google Launches ‘Hands Free’ Shopping Trial


Service allows shoppers to pay without using money, or even getting out their phone to pay

Google has revealed its vision of the next generation of shopping with a new service that looks to kill off physical wallets and money altogether

The company has confirmed it has begun a trial of its Hands Free service in San Francisco, allowing users to make mobile payments without needing their phone, instead simply telling the cashier: “I’ll pay with Google.”

Hands Free then uses a combination of Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi and location services on the user’s phone to detect whether they’re near a participating store, with the cashier confirming their identity by checking the user’s Hands Free profile photo and asking for their initials.


shopping1Google says it has already signed up big retailers such as McDonalds and Papa John’s, as well as a number of local San Francisco eateries for the trial in the city’s South Bay Area, and will now evaluate how Hands Free works in the field before looking at a wider release.

Anyone wishing to try out the service simply needs to install the Hands Free app for Android or iOS, add a photo for identification and choose a credit card attached to their Google account or add a new one. Google is even offering $5 off the first Hands Free purchase for all users.

Google says it is also looking at experimenting with visual identification programs to make payments even faster. Currently in place at selected stores, this process uses an in-store camera to automatically confirm a user’s identity based on their Hands Free profile picture, with all images deleted immediately afterwards.

The launch marks the next stage in Google’s efforts to revolutionise the way we pay for goods and services in the real world and online.

The company launches its mobile payments service, Android Pay, last September, and is currently averaging 1.5 million new registrations each month in the US alone, where there are now over two million locations that accept tap and pay.

According to recent reports, Android Pay is set to arrive in the UK later this month, as Google looks to capitalise on the UK’s affinity for mobile payments.

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