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Google Glass wearers nod to new Eaze payment application

Eaze released the beta of its ‘Nod to Pay’ application for Google Glass, enabling owners of the wearable tech to make bitcoin payments with simple head movements.

The ‘glassware’ activates upon the voice command “OK Glass, make a payment,” which permits scanning of a QR code from a mobile device screen, and then transfers a transaction summary onto the Glass lens, requiring confirmation of approval by nodding twice. Claiming to be the first global payment solution for glass, Eaze accepts bitcoin and integrates with existing bitcoin wallets Coinbase and, with plans to expand currencies to dollars and euros this summer.

“Glass and Bitcoin are two super-trending innovations with massive consumer interest and certain adoption concerns, so it should come as no surprise that a commercial Bitcoin wallet now uses Glass as the means to conduct payments,” said Uri Rivner, head of cyber strategy at BioCatch, a Boston-based behavioral analytics company.

“Banco Sabadell, a top bank in Spain, also developed a useful financial application using Google Glass, and it seems that Glass can be made an intuitive way to control and authorize financial transactions.”

Birds of a feather
Considering bitcoin is used by a niche demographic, the mainstream adoption of Glass might be hindered, analysts politely predict.

Seeking to become more valuable, Eaze is also in talks of partnering with PayPal, an eBay-owned company which evidently is seeking to dabble in wearables, as evidenced by its assimilation with Samsung’s Gear smart watch in the beginning of 2014.

Multiple startups are also expressing interest in developing payment services for Glass.

GlassPay released a demo in Fall 2013 circling a similar premise to leverage bitcoin payments via Google Glass, however differs from Eaze in that it integrates the retail shopping experience and is specifically designed for bricks-and-mortar stores.

GlassPay demo

Zapier is also working on building tech to pair PayPal with Glass, but like the aforementioned, is still in the early development stages.

Eyeing up the market
Eaze is a simple application, but faces vast challenges in becoming widely adoptable.

One hurdle is that there is no app store to purchase glassware yet, and so distribution is not user-friendly.

Nevertheless, Google Glass presents an interesting opportunity for new payment capabilities.

While numerous payment services such as Square focus on spawning mobile devices into digital wallets and card readers, there still exists nothing quite as universal as swiping a plastic bank card.

Could Glass potentially make such tech irrelevant? It certainly does remove the physicality of checking out and has potential to be a true alternative to tactile wallets more so than smartphones are proving to be thus far.

Payment service developers are cashing in on new spaces of hardware to permeate, and although security is a growing concern of most consumers, especially surrounding bitcoin, Eaze has an answer for that.

Voice recognition and behavioral analysis are key, since there are ways to check a user’s voice print against historic records, as well as check their physical movement – say, the nod – is in line with their prior gestures, making the authentication process seemingly secure.

Here is how Eaze works

“The keywords here are friction and fraud,” Mr. Rivner said.

“If wearables provide a smooth, intuitive ad frictionless way of paying, and at the same time provide both perceived and — not less important — actual security, then they may play a major role,” he said.

“It’s probably too early to judge, though; we need to remember that mobile payments are still on the exponential part of the growth curve, and the use of smartphones is not fully tapped. In any case we’re now seeing the first wave of wearables. As time goes by and financial ‘killer apps’ are developed, we’ll see which specific type of wearable  — Glass, Gear watches or new types of wearables still not out — will become mainstream,” he said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York