Using the “Google Hands Free” payment system

I was down in Palo Alto to get coffee with a friend. We were walking around after coffee when I saw Tin Pot Creamery. I knew I remembered them for something, I just couldn’t put my mind on what it was. A few seconds later something clicked. It was one of the stores which supported Google Hands Free.

What is Hands Free? Google’s attempt at making payment easier. You walk into a store and simply say “I want to pay with Google”. Thats it, you should be good to go. On the backend, Google uses your phone’s location to tell the cashier that you are at his shop, and shows him you picture so it is infact you who is making the purchase.

Well, I had to try it! I got my friend to capture a video of the whole thing. Now he was pretty skeptical, and even in the video says he thinks the chance of success is like 50%. At this point I didn’t really want ice cream so much as just see-ing this thing in action.

Cashier : That’ll be $4 please
Me: I want to pay with Google
Cashier: (taps at his screen, looks at my face and then the screen): You’re good to go!
Google Hands Free demo

That was most literally the most fun I’ve had while buying anything. It was simple, clean, and quick. Google might be on to something here!

Now as to whether this will take off, or go along the lines of Google Wave and be forgotten is a different question. If google, manages to get stores to adopt this system, I can see it kicking off. Getting stores to adopt this however, might not be the easiest thing in the world. With many bigger stores still using old custom POS systems a lot of upgrading probably needs to happen. I’m curious to see how Google handles the whole thing.

For now, if you live in the bay area and want to give this a shot, download the app at here and give it a shot. I guarantee it to be fun.

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