Within minutes of our big ol’ Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) demo video going online, one question barraged my inbox: could the new facial recognition-based unlocking feature be tricked with a photo?
Google’s response on this was anything but solid. They kind of tip-toed around it when I asked, saying just that the feature “will only get better”. Meanwhile, Google’s Tim Bray implied that they’d most certainly thought of that.
At long last, someone has managed to answer the question with video proof. Turns out: Yep, photos work.
Check out the video below, courtesy of Malaysia’s SoyaCincau :
As a few folks have doubted the tester’s methods, they went on to add:
While some of you think that it is a trick and I had set the Galaxy Nexus up to recognise the picture, I assure you that the device was set up to recognise my face.
Of course, this is still Beta software we’re talking about. The Galaxy Nexus won’t ship until later this month — so if this portrait trickery does work consistently (and this wasn’t just a fluke), there’s no saying it’ll still work in the final software. Third party facial unlocking systems have done things like requiring certain facial expressions or waiting for the user to blink — which, while not infallible, at least makes sneaking in more complicated.
In the mean time: if you’re carrying anything sensitive on your phone (and really, with all of the accounts we sync to our smartphones these days, who isn’t?) it’s probably a good idea to avoid using face unlock as anything but a neat party trick.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...
Android is a software platform for mobile devices based on the Linux operating system and developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in Java that utilizes Google-developed software libraries, but does not support programs developed in native code. The unveiling of the Android platform on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 34 hardware, software and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards...