Smile! Alibaba Tests Authentication by Photo

March 23, 2015

Smile! Alibaba Tests Authentication by Photo At a technology conference in Germany last week, Alibaba founder Jack Ma demonstrated a new payment system using facial recognition to authenticate users. The service, dubbed “Smile to Pay,” is being tested by Ant Financial, the Alibaba affiliate that runs payment arm Alipay. On stage, Ma pointed his smartphone’s forward-facing camera at himself and aligned his head inside a white outline, completing the transaction. The Smile to Pay app authenticates the payment by matching a photo taken by the user at the time of purchase with one stored on their device.

“Using online payments to buy things is always a big headache,” he said during his demo. “You forget your password, you worry about security. Today we’ll show you a new technology, how in the future people will buy things online.”

Ma said the service will roll out in China first and could be available in other countries by 2017.