It’s been a few days since Google released a video that shows face unlocking and air gesture controls. I was immediately wowed, however, a literal second later I realized we’ve (Android user) had this all before. My daily driver phone is a Google Pixel 2 XL in white with the orange button and its running on the latest beta of Android Q.
I’m an Android/ Google fanboy, I love the freedom that comes with the OS. BUT!!! I’ve been using face unlock on it since it arrived once Google shipped them out 2 years ago. Yes, I said 2 years ago, but in truth, I’ve used it on Samsung Galaxy phones that I’ve owned before I swapped to Google-branded phones… So face unlock really isn’t new, it’s not even close to new.
What is new though is Google’s use of the infrared dot matrix/ grid. It’s basically the exact same idea that Apple has been using for the last 2 plus years on the iPhone X… Yeah, I said it. Apple came out with a feature first. ( I haven’t been able to say that in a really long time)
Google uses 2 IR (infrared camera) to read points that the infrared grid applies to your face. This 2 camera approach gives Google the ability to create a 3D image for solid and secure facial recognition. This new method is much more secure when compared to the camera only version that I and many other Android users currently rely on. In fact, Google removed the ability to use face unlock on Pixel 3 due to the quality of the image of the camera. (Which was a surprise to me)
All that said, despite not being as secure as the IR face unlock system that Apple and the new Pixel 4 will use the previous (regular camera face unlock) still works well. The reason that it does work well is not that it’s secure it’s because Google has other security measures in place, fingerprint scanning. What I mean is if someone does manage to trick the basic face unlock to access my bank account, Google pay, Cash App and various others you have to scan a finger. I’ll appreciate the fact that the strength of the new system will likely (like Apple) take the place of the fingerprint reader and be functionally as secure. All said I’m not excited about it, yes Google needed a more secure facial unlock system, but this isn’t an earth-shattering new feature.
Air Gesture Control
I’m having Deja Vu here… This section is going to be a lot like the section above. Google is just retreading the same path here AGAIN. Samsung had air gesture controls I believe back in 2013… YES! 6 years ago. Like the face unlock the saving grace and only logic I can see is the hardware needed to have GOOD <——- Keyword… GOOD, touchless gesture controls are now available in the right size and at the right price.
I’m not sure how many of you remember but Samsung actually had to touchless eye controls. This was at least 4 years ago or more. You could turn on the feature in the setting menu and it would control the app accordingly. In apps like Gmail and Chrome, the phone would scroll down when it detected your eyes looking down as you read the page or email. Another feature was the ability to pause a video when the phone detected that you looked away. It was a cool feature and worked about 80% as well as it should have but at the time, I think it worked as well as could be expected.
Around that same time, Google/ Samsung introduced the ability to wave your hand to control various features of the phone. If you want to try it for yourself you can download apps today that use the camera in the same way and will give you the ability to control the phone without touching it. This again is not a new feature, so I’ll say it again I’m not excited. Sure I’ll use it for a few days but unless Google shows us something very new this function will likely get annoying and turned off.
It seems the only old feature other than the headphone jack that Google hasn’t announced is the old IR blaster… In all honesty, I think I’d prefer the IR blaster than air gesture controls.
What do you think, DOPE OR NOPE… Leave your comments