Google Piloting Hands Free Mobile Payments App

March 2, 2016 - Written By John Anon

Mobile payments is one of the recurring hot topics in the mobile world. Although the option to pay with your device has been around for some time in one capacity or another, this seems to be an industry which has really taken off over the last year. Manufacturers like Samsung are doing with well their option, Samsung Pay, LG is working on their own option and then there is also the more wider ‘Pays’ like Apple Pay and Android Pay. In terms of Android Pay, this is a service which can be used with any compatible Android running handset and regardless of manufacturer.

However, it is only the beginning of Google’s ambitions for mobile payments. Back in May of last year, the first real understanding of a service Google was dubbing “Hands Free” came to light. As the name suggests, this was a service which looked to offer a more convenient way to make payments, without having to fumble around for your wallet or your phone. A few months prior to the early Hands Free look, other reports came through about a service which was going by the Plaso name. This was one which looked to offer consumers a way to pay using their initials. Now, Google has publicly released a new app to the Play Store in beta form which brings these two streams of reports together.

Google has now officially released Hands Free in a testing form. This is an app which will let you pay for goods by using Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi and location services. At participating retailers, users will simply be able to say “I’ll pay with Google” and they will then be asked by the cashier for their initials. While the initials are being entered into the system, the phone will be searching (thanks to the vocal Google prompt) for nearby terminals. The two elements working in tandem processes the payment. All without having to touch your smartphone. At the moment though, this is simply a trialing of the app and can only currently be used by those who live within a select area of San Francisco. Not to mention the list of participating retailers currently seems resigned to a few McDonald’s, Papa John’s and local eateries. Either way though, the app is now available to download from the Play Store.