Google is terminating the pilot program for its Hands Free payment service after 10 months of testing in the San Francisco Bay Area. The app will be shut down on February 8, after which the company asks that you switch over to Android Pay. All photos and settings that are stored will automatically be “permanently deleted.”
Last March, Google launched Hands Free for Android and iOS after teasing it in 2015. The idea was to make it easier to pay for goods and services without having to take out your phone. Using a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and location-based services, you would tell the cashier you’re paying with Google, provide your initials, and then the cashier would verify your identity by looking at the photo on your Hands Free profile.
In emails to users, Google claimed that it received “positive feedback” and felt now was the time for it to bring the learnings to more people and stores. What the next iteration of mobile payments looks like remains to be seen, but it’ll likely be part of Android Pay in the future.
After February 8, participating stores enrolled in the pilot program will no longer accept payments through Hands Free.
Android Pay has been around for a while, but it’s in a crowded field, one filled with competing services from Apple, Samsung, PayPal, and even those from individual businesses, like Kohl’s and others that have been exploring the potential for a mobile payment offering.
Here’s the email being sent to users:
Thank you for being among the first to try our Hands Free technology. Since launching the pilot last March, we’ve learned so much from you and our other early adopters.
Based on all the positive feedback, we’re now working to bring the best of the technology to even more people and stores. To focus our efforts, we’ll be shutting down the Hands Free app on February 8. You won’t be able to pay with Hands Free after that, so be sure to redeem any unused rewards before then.
In the meantime, we encourage you to start enjoying quick, easy checkout with Android Pay. If you set it up and try it at any store within the next 2 weeks, we’ll give you a $10 Whole Foods gift card.* The gift card will automatically appear in your Android Pay app within a week after your first purchase.
When the Hands Free app shuts down, your photo and settings will be permanently deleted to protect your privacy.
The Hands Free Team