How fast can one pay for their fast food? Google is helping McDonald's and Papa John's find out.
Google revealed a payments app called Hands Free that allows users to make in-store payments without lifting a finger, on Thursday at the company's annual developers' conference.
Instead of relying on the swiping of a credit card or scanning of a smartphone, when using the app customers simply give their name to the cashier and say they want to pay with Google. A sensor detects the Hands Free app, showing the cashier the customer's photo and name in the point-of-sale system. The cashier okays the purchase and the customer is automatically charged through the app.
The technology will be tested later this year at McDonald's and Papa John's locations in the San Francisco Bay area.
While the ordering process looks seamless in the company video, the logistics aren't yet entirely clear. According to Time, Google has emphasized that the new payments system is still an experiment. Prior attempts at hands free payment include Square Order, which was retired in March, and Paypal's Beacon, introduced in 2013.
Mobile payments are a hot topic across industries, but new platforms have sparked particular interest at fast-food companies eager to cut crucial seconds off of customers' wait time. A wide array of chains accept Apple Pay, including Subway, McDonald's and Panera. Both Domino's and Chipotle have smartwatch apps for ordering and payment. Pizza Hut even has a Venmo-powered digital platform that allows customers to immediately split their bills.