The latest Pixel 4 XL leak gives us our first look at Google’s process for setting up facial recognition. It’s broadly similar to Apple’s Face ID setup, involving asking users to spin their head in a circle. But in a nice touch, it provides some helpful extra details and options along the way.
The leak, from GenK (via Android Police), shows that Google first presents users with a bunch of information about how face recognition is going to work. A note mentions four key points:
• Glasses or lightly tinted sunglasses are OK.
• The images and biometric data used by face unlock are stored securely and never leave your phone. You can delete the data anytime.
• Looking at the phone can unlock it when you don’t intend to. Your phone can be unlocked by someone else if it’s held up to your face while your eyes are open.
• Your phone can be unlocked by someone who looks a lot like you, say, an identical sibling.
It’s good information to know and shows Google presenting the drawbacks to face unlock plainly and upfront. Apple acknowledges these limitations, too, on help pages across its website, but it doesn’t present those risks at all during setup.
The setup screen also suggests that Google isn’t giving the feature any kind of fancy branding, like Face ID. It’s just “face unlock.”
Following that info screen, an animation appears showing you how to move your head. That screen also allows you to select an option to set up face unlock if you have “limited vision or head motion.” Apple has a similar option to not require head motion, but you have to delay Face ID setup, then go into settings and enable an accessibility option in order to use it.
From there, the phone presumably scans your face. But it turns out… there’s a downside to using leaked phones. It sounds like face unlock isn’t working yet. Soli, Google’s gesture sensing tech, isn’t working either, according to the report. It’s not clear if there are going to be any functional differences between Google’s face unlock and Apple’s Face ID at this point.
The Pixel 4 has leaked repeatedly over the last few days as early units somehow flood out onto the market. It’s appeared in a multitude of photos and, as of yesterday, some detailed videos, too. They all appear to show the Pixel 4 XL, and they’ve revealed it in three colors: white, black, and coral.
Those leaks have revealed and confirmed a number of details about the phone. Its key specs — Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, 3,700mAh battery on the XL — and some flashy new features, like a 90Hz display, a color temperature adjustment feature like Apple’s True Tone, and seemingly a new voice recorder app.
Today’s leak also gives the first good look at a new theming feature that Google appears to be building into the phone. I can’t say I’d suggest using most of these other themes, but it’s nice that this option is being made available, given that this kind of customization has always been one of Android’s strengths.
There are a lot more photos of the phone over at GenK. Some prior leaks were blurry and of phones with plastic still stuck to them, but these are nicely shot pictures that show a phone that doesn’t look quite as ugly and awkward as earlier leaks made it out to be.
Source: The Verge