We're well aware of how fast, consumer tech moves these days - it seems only yesterday that Google announced their foray into mobile payments with Android Pay. Interestingly, we wouldn't be far off the mark - Android Pay was only fully rolled out in September last year and already it could be yesterday's news. Say hello to Google's 'Hands Free'.
Let me catch up!
Caught your breath? Good. Here it is. Yesterday, Google announced that they were sending out beta invites to South Bay residents for a new payment system they are trialling called, 'Hands Free'.
The premise behind this technology would be to go one step further than Android Pay, and remove the need for users to find their device when wishing to pay - making the payment process entirely hands-free.
An app is being rolled out for Android and iOS which would be able to detect participating stores using low battery Bluetooth, WiFi and other location services.
Users would upload a passport style photo to the app which would be accessible by a shop assistant should you want to pay.
How would I actually pay for something?
Google has suggested you would need to notify the assistant, 'I'll pay with Google' who would then simply require your initials and would then check the image you uploaded to the app to prove your identity.
We're not entirely clear on the mechanics behind the system yet, but our thoughts are that the app would have already pre-connected with the till register as you walked into the shop, loaded up your profile data and waited for you to speak the command before loading up your details to the tiller for verification.
Google's going one step further by trialling automatic verification with pre-installed Hands Free cameras at selected stores. This would remove the need for the cashier to do any checking and Google has confirmed that all imagery is automatically deleted.
The tech is only being rolled out to participating McDonald's, Papa Johns and local eateries in the South Bay area but the opportunities for the technology are fairly limitless.
The ultimate lead generation tool?
Whilst we're still unclear on how the app will work in it's entirety, we couldn't help but speculate to the uses for Inbound Marketing in eCommerce and Retail.
If Google was willing to share data with participating stores, it would be incredible to be able to track visitors to bricks and mortar stores - have their profiles collated electronically and possibly even trigger workflows based on their paths taken throughout the store or items / offers viewed!
If Google only begins to log data once the voice command 'I'll Pay With Google' is spoken this could restrict the data on leads, but there would surely still be opportunities to re-market to purchasers.
This is exciting times for retail businesses and tech marketers alike - we're looking forward to seeing how this one develops through the rest of 2016.
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