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Google Is Testing Voice-Activated Payment App, Hands Free (cnet.com) 50

New submitter eedwardsjr writes: If you've ever wanted to pay just by saying something out loud, then Hands Free is the way to go. Google has released to the public a new app called Hands Free, which lets people pay for items in stores by simply telling the cashier, "I'll pay with Google." The app, available for Android and iOS, is only being piloted in a few locations in the San Francisco area, including some McDonald's and Papa John's restaurants. Hands Free works by tracking your location using Wi-Fi and other sensors in your smartphone to detect whether you're near a participating store. After you say "I'll pay with Google," the cashier confirms your identity by using your initials and the photo you've loaded onto the Hands Free app.
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Google Is Testing Voice-Activated Payment App, Hands Free

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @07:45PM (#51625669)

    is that the Google team's goal wasn't a payment system. It was how to get more people to upload profile pics.

  • Google! Complete my comment.

  • >"The app, [...] Hands Free works by tracking your location using Wi-Fi and other sensors in your smartphone to detect whether you're near a participating store. After you say "I'll pay with Google," the cashier confirms your identity by using your initials and the photo you've loaded onto the Hands Free app. "

    No thanks. Have a wallet since I have to carry certain ID's, and will carry cash. My wallet contains at least one credit card. One swipe (or insert) and done. No batteries. No unlocking. No c

    • I'd recommend you watch the little promo video created by Google embedded in TFA. It's hilarious in sort of an eye-rolling way.

      They try to show traditional payments as some horrible, inconvenient nightmare that people somehow can't manage without creating great stress for themselves and everyone around them. Who exactly are they trying to kid here? Sure, if that were the level of the bar being raised, they might have something here, but it's not. Where the bar is now: I hand my card to the employee and

  • by rainwalker ( 174354 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @07:55PM (#51625709)

    Why do all of their voice-activated prompts require me to repeat the name of the corporation, over and over? I already know I'm using a Google phone, it says so right at the top of every screen, and I have to say their name every time I want to use voice search anyway. It's kind of creepy.

    • Yes, it is creepy, and nerdy/dorky, and stupid. It is called "free advertising" for Google and I don't like it either. It is especially annoying on my Android Wear watch, because it is cumbersome to activate a voice prompt without saying it.

    • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @08:17PM (#51625809) Homepage Journal

      Why do all of their voice-activated prompts require me to repeat the name of the corporation, over and over?

      Probably so that the on-device voice recognition can recognize you're talking to it, so that it doesn't have to send a live feed of your microphone to Google HQ, and also so it doesn't randomly hear commands in your regular speech.

    • Merely paranoid theory: Because then you are advertising for Google (over Apple or Microsoft) every time you use anything.

      Properly paranoid theory: Repetition, esp. repeated verbalization, strengthens neurons in the brain. This means, you are literally brainwashing yourself into thinking "Google" more often, reinforces the notion that Google solves this specific problem (of payment), and grows the notion that Google solves all generic problems. And this is in the speaker's mind. This phenomenon is why c

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      " ... voice-activated prompts require me to repeat the name of the corporation ..."

      Because they *are* Google (at least partly), they anticipated your question and changed the name of the corporation. Google is still a division of it but you don't have to repeat the name of the corporation any more. Yes, you may expect them to anticipate more and more of your important needs and continue to make every effort to improve the quality of your life.

    • You're right. Just "I'll pay" will do. I look forward to 10 years from now when I have this conversation with the cashier and I get charged for my big Mac 10 times with 10 different services. Bonus points if I'm actually about to order a happy meal and I'm actually paying for the big Mac of the stranger next to me :)

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Why do all of their voice-activated prompts require me to repeat the name of the corporation, over and over? I already know I'm using a Google phone, it says so right at the top of every screen, and I have to say their name every time I want to use voice search anyway. It's kind of creepy.

      It's really only Google.

      I mean, Android uses "OK Google" as the default activation key for their assistant while everyone else is not related to the company. iOS uses "Hey Siri" and I think Amazon uses "Alexa".

      I think it'

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @07:55PM (#51625715) Journal
    What could go wrong with voice-activated dollars departing my wallet?
    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @07:59PM (#51625735)

      What could go wrong with voice-activated dollars departing my wallet?

      Don't worry, there are stringent safeguards built into the system. First and foremost - no statement of payment will be authorized or processed unless it is preceded by "Simon Says".

    • What could go wrong with voice-activated dollars departing my wallet?

      That was the very first thought that came to mind when I heard this...followed by, "Oh great, another completely unecessary way for my money to be stolen."

  • that's what i'm talkin' about!
  • Surprise! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    1) Load goatse image as profile pic
    2) Go to participating place and pay using new method
    3) ???
    4) Profit from the sheer horror that will unfold

    You know it will happen.

  • I know this system can reliably tell me apart from anyone else, by how faithfully voice recognition can transcribe what I say.

  • authorization Picard 4-7 Alpha Tango
  • Not voice activated (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The headline in the story is misleading. It is not voice activated.

    http://googlecommerce.blogspot.com/2016/03/testing-testing-one-two-hands-free.html

    It allows you to pay hands free. When you say you're paying with Google, it's just so the teller can charge you through their system. The teller verifies you through your pictures/initials.

  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @08:19PM (#51625811)

    There's nothing more annoying than speaking trite phrases to a machine as if it were a human. Especially if you're an introvert. You just want to type it or a push a button.

    I never use voice anything, and I have it on my phone and in my car. I tried the car thing the first few days I had it and it felt so stupid talking to the thing and it was so slow I wanted to punch it.

    The worst is voice based tree menus on corporate voice jail systems. Please let me punch numbers.

  • by Guillermito ( 187510 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @08:26PM (#51625837) Homepage
    You just tell the cashier that you want to use this payment method. There is no voice recognition software involved in the process.
  • "Google Pay, send me all your money."
  • by Mantrid42 ( 972953 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @09:17PM (#51626083)
    Am I the only one that thinks credit cards are already convenient enough? Stuff like this and NFC and such feel like solutions in search of a problem.
    • Re:Crazy pills (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @09:57PM (#51626267) Homepage
      The problem they're trying to fix is how to skim money off the top of every transaction a user makes.
      • And thus appeals to the demographic of users who don't pay attention to how much money they actually spend. They don't want to know about the 2% transaction fee since they're probably going to be talked into the extended warranty anyway.

    • There are technophiles out there who love this stuff. They know nothing about how technology works but they are enamored of any and all gadgets and will show off the new cool app they found to any of their remaining friends. It's a status symbol that says I was into unsafe transactions before it was cool.

  • by kimgkimg ( 957949 ) on Thursday March 03, 2016 @03:28AM (#51627199)
    ... verify me.
  • Should I speak out the name every time even I buy a chewing gum ??
  • For starters, it's often a crowded, noisy environment in places I'm standing in line to pay for something. I can just see the frustration when people announce, "I'll pay with Google!" but nothing happens. (Feeling like a complete tool, as you stand there repeating 3 times in a row, "I'll pay with Google!" -- you'll learn never to try THAT again.)

    Additionally though? I don't think people really want to give their devices voice commands for basic tasks that can be accomplished as well with a wave of the devic

  • Someone send me a Hangouts request or add a launch date to my Calendar whenever I can use Android Pay (or Samsung Pay) as a rooted user. I've subscribed to feature updates on my Gmail and am ready to Map my way to stores where I can use this!

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