As we march steadily toward a cashless society, Google is naturally at the forefront of seeing it come to fruition as quickly as possible.
Despite the fact that several years ago Google had a major security scare with its first incarnation of the digital wallet smartphone app, which required a temporary shutdown, they are announcing a new system being tested which does not even require the smartphone at all.
A growing number of people apparently find that having to remove their smartphone is just such a hassle that they are prepared to embrace payment via biometrics – in this case, facial recognition.
As a perfect indicator of the target market, please read this sad quote:
“Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier.”
In one sentence, that quote might represent literally everything that is wrong with modern society.
The new system is being cleverly called Hands Free; and, as the second indicator of its potential mass appeal, it will be rolled out first at McDonald’s and Papa John’s fast food restaurants.
A second more serious component to this ties in with the recent rollout of citywide WiFi systems that keep people connected at all times. Layered on top of that is the arrival of billboards with hidden cameras built in that can film you, then track you through your mobile phone. This reality makes the following information more chilling than convenient:
The digital wallet uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections alone [sic] with location sensing capabilities in smartphones to detect when someone is near a store enabled with Hands Free payment technology.
“When you’re ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, ‘I’ll pay with Google,’” Bhat said.
“The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity.”
At some locations, Google is experimented [sic] with using cameras in stores to recognize people with Hands Free digital wallets so they could pay without even pausing. (emphasis added)
The number of people already prepared to accept this system numbers in the millions, according to Google.