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Google’s experimental ‘Hands Free’ app that lets you pay using your face has gone live

Could this make carrying your credit cards a thing of the past?

Google has just announced it is trialling the experimental payments service called Hands Free at certain stores in San Francisco.

It’s an app, which is different from Android Pay, that basically lets you pay for items without even taking your phone out.

When you’re at the till, all you need to do is say: “I’ll pay with Google” and the cashier confirms your identity based on your Hands Free profile picture, comparing the image with a photo taken on their in-store camera, and authorises the transaction.

Google Hands Free.

“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,” writes Pali Bhat, Google’s senior director of product management in the new blog.

“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.”

The service, which is still in its test phase, is only available at selected stores in the San Francisco Bay Area which include McDonald’s, Papa John’s and a few local retailers in the area.

If you pass by a shop that offers the Hands Free service, your phone will automatically alert you using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and location services built into the device.

Google says all images taken on the Hands Free camera are deleted immediately, but there’s a chance the process might raise some privacy concerns, given that retailers (and Google) will be scanning customers’ faces every time there’s a transaction.