If you think your smile can get you out of trouble? Soon you may be able to use your grinning mug in place of your credit card, as Google’s Hands Free app lets you make payments with your face.
Here is how it works: Google will notify you of a nearby participating store using your phone’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and location data. When you are ready to pay at one of these stores, instead of taking out your wallet, just tell the cashier “I want to pay with Google.” The cashier will then confirm your identity by making sure you look like the person logged into the app. They will then ask for your initials, and charge you.
Google will receive your purchasing information from the cashier and charge you through the credit card you provided on the app. That information is stored in Google’s payment processor and never given in full to any retail store.
It might get even more hands-off, as Google is currently testing face-recognition where cashiers use their cameras to confirm your identity, making it so they never have to look at your phone. Google claims the images taken by the in-store cameras are immediately deleted.
Hands Free is not related to Google’s mobile payment app Android Pay, or their peer-to-peer money sending app Google Wallet. It’s also not entirely unique, mirroring much of the functionality of the now defunct Square Wallet application.
The payment app is already available for download in the Play Store and iTunes App Store. Participating retailers can only be found in the California Bay Area and currently include McDonald’s and Papa Jones.
If you’ve ever worked as a bagger in a grocery store you know that every minute waiting for customers to check out can cut into the day’s wage. The slowest and most-dreaded are the check writers. Maybe in a few years those people will be replaced by folks taking a few seconds of their time to take out a credit card. That is, if baggers haven’t already been replaced.