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Look Ma, No Hands! Google's New Hands-Free Payment App

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Paying for stuff is so laborious! You have to take out your wallet, pick your payment card, slip it in the debit machine, click ok, select either chequing or saving, type in your pin, and wait ages – sometimes up to 7 seconds! – for the transaction to be approved. Even with a ‘tap-and-go’ transaction, you’ve still got to remove the card from your wallet and replace it after the transaction. And even utilizing apps like Android Pay to pay for stuff with your phone (which we agree is very cool), it still entails you removing the phone from your pocket, paying, and replacing the phone. Oh, the humanity! Make it stop! There just has to be an easier and faster way of paying for stuff. Enter Google’s Hands-Free Payment App

TESTING 1, 2

Ok, so first off, this is a brand new app currently available in only one test market – the South Bay region of San Francisco. Google has teamed up with McDonalds and Papa John’s at launch, along with a few local restaurants to test the market for this new app. Hands Free was released in Android and iOS on Wednesday 2 March, and, as the name suggests, using this app allows you to pay for all of your transactions without ever taking your phone out of your pocket.

PICTURE PAYMENT

If you’re in a store that uses Hands Free, your phone will recognize it automatically using the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and location services built into the device. Just tell the cashier you’re paying with Google and tell them your initials. The cashier will then verify your identity based on a picture you already uploaded to your profile. In some locations, Hands Free will even be linked to in-store cameras to confirm your identity automatically, with Google promising that any pics taken for this service will be deleted. Also automatically.

PRIVACY BREACH (?)

To be honest, we’re not too hot on this idea. Privacy paranoia aside, we don’t like the idea of store cameras taking pics of us. I mean, how annoying is it when someone takes your picture when you tell them not to? Very annoying. And Google says any pics are deleted right away, but just ask Jennifer Lawrence about deleted pics reappearing at a later date.

STANDING BY

Google is looking forward to feedback so further improvements can be made in the Hands Free app and fix any glitches (if any) that might affect the consumer experience. With tech titans Apple, Samsung, and Google all fighting for their share of the lucrative mobile payments market, stay tuned for more advancements in the quest for a complete hands-and-hassle-free shopping experience. Cash is becoming obsolete, and many millennials have probably never even used a cheque book before. So who knows, maybe one day soon mobile technology may make carrying a wallet obsolete?

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