While Android Pay stole the headlines at last week’s I/O developer conference, Google also slipped out news of another payment service called Hands Free at the same event.
Still only a trial, the service enables consumers to make payments in shops or cafes by using only a voice command, as opposed to NFC-based tap-and-pay for Android Pay or rival services from Apple and Samsung.
From a YouTube video posted by the search giant (see below), user scenarios include when searching around a bag for a phone is inconvenient, such as a mother and baby. The customer states “I’d like to pay with Google”, and the payment is processed by a cashier, rather than using a mobile device or plastic card.
However, according to reports, users will still need to carry their phones with them. The technology behind the transaction is unclear; possibly some form of voice recognition, or geofencing which uses the location of a user’s phone to authenticate an identity and payment.
Google will test Hands Free in a number of McDonald’s and Papa John restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area over the next few months.