Amazon Wants to Let You Pay With a Selfie

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Credit where credit’s due: Amazon is very good at giving its customers different, weird ways to part with their money. Its line of cheap entry-level tablets is designed around making it easier to click the order button and to stream video, and they also make Wi-Fi-enabled logo-emblazoned buttons that order products with one press. (Full disclosure: I have one of these stupid buttons and use it to order Gatorade.)

The latest possible way to pay Amazon is via selfie. In a recent patent application, via Recode, the company details how sending them a picture of your face could authenticate payments. Facial recognition is, in many ways, more secure than a password, but there are other reasons besides security. As the application states, password entries “require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations.”

Selfie authentication isn’t the only way Amazon wants you to authorize a purchase. As other examples, users could potentially also tilt their head, smile, or blink. Whether or not emoting at your phone is less intrusive to your social life than entering a password is not quite clear.