The search giant has just confirmed to The Verge that it was, in fact, “conducting field trials” to enhance the face unlocking feature of its upcoming smartphone, the Pixel 4.
According to the company, the purpose of the research was to make facial recognition more reliable in a multitude of different faces:
Our goal is to develop the feature with robust performance and security. We are also preparing it with inclusion in mind so that even more people can enjoy it.
In the survey conducted by Google, each of the “respondents” gained an identification number and, according to the company, at any time they can ask for their facial data to be deleted.
If no such request is made, the company reserves the right to keep the data for eighteen months in its database, never associating it, in passing, with a Google ID.
Pixel 4: Google would be buying facial data to enhance Face ID competitor
Google is a gigantic resource-rich company that has grown steadily in recent years. With a huge team, the search giant conducts countless research and tests at its many Mountain View labs and many other places around the world.
However, sometimes she needs to “get out of the box” and adopt, say, different methods to get material for her experiments.
Reports suggest the firm is approaching random people in New York to buy facial data to train what would be the Face ID competitor, which should debut in the upcoming Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL (which are still in the testing phase ).
One of the first reports describes someone known to one of the writers of the ZDNet site, who was allegedly approached by a Google employee, asking if he would be willing to have his face scanned in exchange for a $ 5 Gift Card.
One would have accepted the proposal, signed documents, and then looked at a device that was “undercover” inside a black cover that covered its entire design (supposedly the Pixel 4, 4 XL or a prototype with the same functionality).
Another case shared by user height thirty-two on Reddit / r / GooglePixel describes the same situation, where a $ 5 Starbucks Gift Card was offered as a payment for biometric information.
This kind of experiment makes perfect sense when we consider that the search giant is developing a competing feature of Apple’s Face ID, which is a much safer face authentication system than those currently on Android smartphones.
Apparently, Google is collecting as much information as possible to train the Artificial Intelligence of its upcoming smartphones to ensure that the functionality will not be a problem after launch.
The question remains whether the company’s face unlocks will be able to deliver something at the same level as its competitor in terms of security – that only time will tell.