Google Is Officially Shutting Down Its Experimental Hands Free Payment App

Feb 03, 2017 09:30 PM EST | Carl Anthony Teves

Google has officially announced that it's ending its experimental payments project called Hands Free, an app that allows customers to pay for their items by saying "I'll pay with Google" to a cashier, on February 8th. The app was designed to help people pay with no cash, cards, or tapping of smartphone devices to NFC devices.

The service launched last spring on iOs and Android. Serviceable only at selected locations such as McDonald's and Papa Johns, the service required users to upload a photo in the app and utilized Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and location services in smartphones to determine whether the customer was inside a participating store.

The tech giant didn't disclose how much traction the app got, or whether customers found it more convenient than cash. A Reddit user wrote Wednesday, "I was one of the early adopters and have come to LOVE it. NFC is great too, but this quite simply was easier. Especially for drive thru's where scanning your NFC wasn't really feasible."

Google's goal when the app was first announced was to be able to add a facial recognition-based shopping that could be done entirely by computer-controlled systems. But unfortunately, those plans are being thrown away as the app shuts down. Google also noted that it plans to "bring the best of the Hands Free technology to even more people and stores," so people could see something similar that could appear in other products in the future.

Furthermore, Hands Free was designed to terminate a few pain points around shopping by simply streamlining the purchasing process. It also attempted to solve the pain points around the wallet; bulky and filled with cards that people rarely use and very prone theft or loss.

However, despites Google's great plans, the app never made it to the top in the same way the company's several mainstream Android platform has. As of now, next-generation payments will now require a new hardware or software, which has slowed their roll-outs.


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