Are you unexcited about Android Pay? Not liking your Wallet Card? Maybe you just want another Google payment platform... because? Then I've got great news: Google Hands Free will be a thing at some point later this year.
How's it work? I've got no idea, because Google doesn't actually tell us. Well, actually, we sort of do know, because Hands Free leaked as Plaso over three months ago.
The idea here is similar to that of the now-defunct Square Wallet, which used a combination of proximity detection and a picture of your face to allow you to buy stuff without ever having to pull out a credit card, phone, or even your ID. Hands Free sounds very, very similar based on the video demonstration Google gives in the promo below, with a woman just saying she wants to "pay with Google" for something at a fast food restaurant.
The earlier Plaso rumor suggested it works via Bluetooth, and given Android M's new Bluetooth location-scanning feature, it seems like Google is getting on board with BLE proximity tech. Hands Free will work via an as-yet unreleased app on your smartphone, though the Plaso leak suggested vendors will also need a device to conduct the transaction, be it a smartphone or some kind of special point-of-sale module. Google says the transactions are secure, and the vendor never gets your credit card info (this means that Hands Free is almost definitely a kind of payment middleware on the retailer side).
That's really what we know, aside from the fact that Hands Free is not public and won't be until later this year, and even then, only in San Francisco. The first two announced partners? McDonalds and Papa Johns.
- Google Hands Free