Google trialling face-recognition payment app
04 March 2016 14:22 GMT

Google is testing a new mobile payment app on iOS and android that uses facial recognition for authentication.

Called Hands Free, the app also uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS to detect when you're near a participating retailer.

Rather than relying on a phone’s front camera, the process uses an in-store camera to automatically confirm a user’s identity based on their Hands Free profile picture.

However, Google points out that images and data from the Hands Free in-store camera are deleted immediately, can't be accessed by the store, and is not sent to or saved to Google servers.

“Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier”, wrote Google in a blog post. “This prompted us to build a pilot app called Hands Free … It lets you pay in stores quickly, easily, and completely hands-free”.

As the pilot is still in early stages, Google is only inviting people in the South Bay area to test the service at McDonald’s and Papa John’s.

The new service will work with Android Pay, a separate payment service that now has about 9 million registered members.

"We … wanted to explore what the future of mobile payments could look like. Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier," wrote Pali Bhat, a senior director on the project. "This prompted us to build a pilot app called Hands Free that we’re now in the early stages of testing. It lets you pay in stores quickly, easily, and completely hands-free."