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Alibaba Group to Launch Virtual Reality Shopping Payment Service

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Alibaba Group is developing an advanced payment solution for virtual reality shoppers.

The e-commerce company’s finance arm announced a new service that will allow virtual reality shoppers to pay for goods by nodding their heads, Reuters reported. The new payment system, VR Pay, is part of Alibaba’s ongoing efforts to advance online shopping technology.

Last year, Alibaba debuted a facial recognition technology for its Alipay mobile payments service, which allowed users to pay with a selfie. VR Pay takes this concept to the next level with a more seamless process. With VR Pay, people browsing virtual reality shopping malls will be able to make purchases without taking off their VR goggles. Now, they are able to buy items by simply nodding their heads.

“It is very boring to have to take off your goggles for payment,” said Lin Feng, supervisor of Ant Financial’s incubator, F Lab. “With this, you never need to take out your phone.”

User identity confirmation is also easier with VR Pay. Verification is available through account logins on connected devices or voice print technology that recognizes users’ voices. Feng said that compared to other biometric recognition technologies, voice print technology was the most convenient method in a VR setting.

“But passwords will still be needed for authentication, which the user can also enter with head movements, touch, or by staring at a point on virtual display for longer than 1.5 seconds,” Feng said.

Ant Financial said VR Pay will be an important tool, because it will connect VR goggle makers and app developers to its Alipay payments platform. Ant Financial Services Group currently manages Alipay, China’s largest online payments service, with more than 450 million daily users.

VR Pay is anticipated to commercially launch by the end of this year.

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