Thursday, March 3, 2016
We've never been big fans of "electronic wallets" that simply aim to replace a card with a smartphone, but now Google seems to have taken payments to the next level with its new Hands Free system.
It's kind of awkward to promote a "better" payment system that, instead of requiring you to grab a credit/debit card and enter a pin, requires you to get your smartphone, touching a reader, potentially launching an app, validating the transaction, and... possibly running out of battery in the worst possible moment.
Payments need to be done in a simpler, easier way - not a more complicated one. And thankfully, we seem to be getting there.
Google Hands Free is only available in SF (for now), but the key is that it takes the hassle out of the payment process. You need only approach the cashier and say you want to pay with Google; no need to grab your smartphone and juggle it while you have your hand full. The system uses GPS, bluetooth, and other sensors in the smartphone, to know where you are, and when you say you want to pay with Google, the cashier can simply access a list of nearby patrons, with their initials and photo. And that's it.
Google is even experimenting with a more automated approach, where a camera in the store would automatically recognize the person and remove the need for manual identification (and also saying these images are immediately deleted and are not even sent to their servers.)
Finally... we seem to be in the right track. Let's hope Google expands this system worldwide soon.