Google announces hands-free payments, so you no longer have to lift a finger

Google hands-free payments

Update: Google has announced that it is beginning its limited trial of Hands Free payments in San Francisco. Here's to hoping that it goes well so that it spreads to more locations.

They say that money talks, but soon you'll be able to literally speak to pay for things, thanks to Google's upcoming hands-free payment technology.

Later this year, Google will be testing a smartphone app that allows users to make purchases at specific stores by simply standing in front of a compatible cash register, and letting the cashier know that they want to pay with Google.

A Bluetooth sensor will then detect the app on the user's phone, automatically billing them and sending them a receipt of the transaction in the process.

The technology sounds quite similar to PayPal Beacon, which was announced in 2013 and also allows customers to pay for items without taking out their phones or wallets.

Cashing out

Google plans to test this experimental payment method in the San Francisco Bay Area at McDonald's and Papa John restaurants, though we'll have to wait a while until the app is available to the general public.

As this is an experiment, details are sketchy on how it will all work in practice, such as what would happen with several hands-free payment users in the vicinity of a register, or whether any further identification will be required to make purchases.

Watch Google's hilarious announcement video below, which plays like a ridiculous late '90s infomercial, complete with frustrated customers struggling to open their own wallets.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.