Google has just formally announced Android Pay over at I/O 2015, so imagine our surprise and bewilderment when it rather revealed another wireless payment scheme simply called “Hands Free”. While it does sound like something you’d associate with cars, but this mobile payment system is more about keeping your hands free even from your smartphone. With Google Hands Free, all you need is to say is that you’d like to pay with Google and the deed is done. You don’t even have to pull out your smartphone.
This pretty much sounds like the promise of Android Pay except for one crucial point. With Android Pay, in theory you still have to pull out your device and place it near the contactless PoS. Not even that simple gesture is needed here. Everything works through the magic of Bluetooth, though an app is, of course, implied. The merchant terminal will utilize Bluetooth to verify that the buyer has the app installed and will the process the transaction. The buyer can optionally check the smartphone for a notification of the purchase.
Unlike Android Pay, Google hasn’t fleshed out details of Hands Free, which is not surprising considering it’s still supposed to be a prototype. Aside from the rather eerie scenario of two people staring at each other, making a purchase moving only one’s lips, the systems leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Like how will the system handle authentication and verification of multiple customers within Bluetooth range? In the same vein, how will it handle security?
Google has a lot of time to prepare answers to those questions since, unlike Android Pay, there is no definite timeline for this novel yet odd idea. Hands Free is still in an invite-only testing phase which will be limited to McDonald’s and Papa Johns chains in the Bay Area. No mention of Android is made anywhere, which could imply that Hands Free could be available multiple mobile platforms.
SOURCE: Google Hands Free