Google has officially pulled the plug on its Hands Free mobile payment program, a scheme that basically allows Android users to pay wirelessly without ever having to worry about pulling out a card or even a handset. This project ran only in the South Bay area of the city of San Francisco in California. It worked by first recognizing if a user is inside a participating business establishment by way of his mobile device’s location services. When the user utters the phrase “paying with Google,” Hands Free then facilitates the transaction via a Bluetooth LE or via Wi-Fi connection, and then the store’s cashier will only validate the purchasing through the user’s photo ID.
Google did let its Hands Free project run for about a year before deciding to end it altogether. Officially, the tech giant will be terminating the program effective February 8th. In a letter reported by 9 to 5 Google, the company stated that it had gained much learning from the early adopters of the mobile payment scheme. The next step now for Google is to apply what it has learned from the program and bring the advantages of that tech to customers and stores. It is not clear yet if Google will also integrate some of that tech to its Android Pay contactless mode of payment.
Speaking of Android Pay, the successor to Google Wallet (which, like Hands Free, never really took off), the mobile payment system now works with all major banking institutions, and is generally supported at most establishments that also have support for rival system Apple Pay. Due to the fact that Android Pay uses a somewhat similar system to Apple’s payment system, retail outlets never had any major problems in trying to use this particular mode of payment. Moreover, by way of a new partnership deal that Google has inked, websites that offer support for Masterpass and Visa Checkout are now expected to also work with Android Pay pretty soon.
There are also reports that state that Google is looking to integrate tap to pay capabilities to smartwatches that are powered by its own Android Wear operating system for wearable devices. This should allow buyers about the same smartphone free perks of the Hands Free mobile payment scheme.
For more information about Google’s decision to end its Hands Free program, you can head to this special Frequently Asked Questions page set up by the company.
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