Google reveals face unlock is coming to Pixel 4
Google has continued to take the unusual step of revealing more details about its next Pixel smartphone ahead of launch, this time announcing the arrival of face unlocking.
The tech giant published a video of the feature in action on YouTube. It will allow users to scan their own face instead of using a password, pin code or fingerprint to unlock their phones, following Apple’s Face ID which launched on the iPhone X in 2017.
However, Google claims it will take the “hassle” out of face unlocking seen on rival smartphones, which can require people to lift the device all the way up, pose in a certain position and then wait for their equipment to unlock.
The firm has been working for five years on a motion-sensing radar called Soli, which it says will enable the Pixel 4 to detect the user’s face faster and in “almost any orientation”, even if it’s being held upside down.
“As you reach for Pixel 4, Soli proactively turns on the face unlock sensors, recognising that you may want to unlock your phone,” Google explained.
In a blog post by Pixel product manager Brandon Barbello, he explained how security and privacy is one of the “core principles” on the Pixel, stressing that image data used from face unlocking never leaves your phone.
The smartphone maker also has another option up its sleeve known as Motion Sense, allowing people to swipe their hand in front of the Pixel 4 without touching it – in the teaser video, a person is shown using Motion Sense to skip music tracks.
“Pixel 4 will be the first device with Soli, powering our new Motion Sense features to allow you to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls, just by waving your hand,” Google continued.
“These capabilities are just the start, and just as Pixels get better over time, Motion Sense will evolve as well.”
However, Motion Sense will only be available in select countries, Google added.
A launch date for the Pixel 4 is yet to be confirmed, but is expected to follow the pattern of previous Pixel flagships, in October.
Google surprised the industry last month by confirming that leaked images claiming to be of its next Pixel smartphone were real.
A new camera system and the absence of a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device were included in the pictures.
Google introduced the Pixel phone in 2016 as the company’s first own-built smartphone running on the firm’s Android operating system.
During its latest quarterly results, Google said overall Pixel unit sales grew more than twice year-on-year.