Electronic commerce giant Alibaba Group and affiliated online payment service Alipay plan to introduce facial recognition technology to replace passwords.
Alibaba, which is China’s largest e-commerce player, says that the facial recognition feature is still under development. However, its chairman Jack Ma was able to demonstrate the new feature when he made a presentation at the Cebit trade fair in Hanover, Germany.
Using Alipay, Ma bought a souvenir stamp from Alibaba’s e-commerce site in China and to confirm the purchase he scanned his face using the front camera on his smartphone.
“Online payment to buy things is always a big headache,” said Ma. “You forget your password, you worry about your security. Today we show you a new technology.”
The facial recognition feature, although still in a beta state, is called ‘Smile to Pay’, according to a social media post by Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba-affiliated company which runs Alipay. The feature was developed in partnership with a Beijing company Megvii, which provides a cloud-based facial recognition service.
However, a London summit on the industry’s introduction of the technology cautions that testing and acceptance are still at an early stage and firms should proceed with caution.
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