Android Pay is Google’s mobile payment platform that lets you pay for items at select retailers using your phone. You can link it to credit, debit, or store card accounts so you can leave your wallet at home and pay with your phone.
Now you can even leave your phone in your pocket or bag… at least if you’re shopping at some locations the South Bay area of San Francisco. That’s where Google is launching the first test of its new Hands Free feature.
Google unveiled plans for Hands Free last year, but this is the first time it’s been available for use in the real world. The pilot program will be available at a “small number of McDonald’s papa John’s and local eateries in the area.”
Here’s how it works: set up the app on your phone and tie it to a payment source. You’ll also need to associate a photo with your account — because when you tell a cashier at a participating location that you want to pay with Google, they’ll initiate a connection to your phone wirelessly (using Bluetooth, WiFi, and location services), ask for your initials, and look at your photo to see if it matches the person standing in front of them.
At a few stores, Google is experimenting with automating even that step: there are “Hands Free cameras” which will snap a photo of you, match it against your stored image and then delete the new photo after your identity has been confirmed.