Google Pixel 4 video confirms Motion Sense gesture controls, advanced face unlock

Google Pixel 4 video confirms Motion Sense gesture controls, advanced face unlock
Google doesn't want people to continue to read leaks and rumors about its smartphones, and starting this year, the Mountain View company has decided to offer information about the Pixel phones long before their official reveal.

There's a lot of interest for the upcoming Pixel 4, and Google reckons there's a way to further increase the hype around its flagship by revealing tidbits of information about the device.

Today, the company revealed details about the technology behind two new features coming to Pixel 4: face unlock and gesture controls. In a blog post, Google explains that it's been working on Soli, a motion-sensing radar that is typically used to detect planes and other large objects.

Google miniaturized a radar used to detect planes


Google managed to create a miniaturized version of the motion radar and put it at the top of the Pixel 4 so that the phone can sense small motions about the phone. With the help of unique software algorithms and advanced hardware, Pixel 4 can recognize gestures and detect when the user is nearby.

According to Google, the Pixel 4 will be the first smartphone to feature Soli, its new Motion Sense features, which will allow users to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls by simply waving their hands. Google also mentions that Motion Sense will be available “in select Pixel countries.”



Next up, face unlock is another new feature coming to Pixel 4. Thanks to Soli, Pixel 4 recognizes the user's face and unlocks itself in a more streamlined way. Current technology included in the phone requires users to lift the phone all the way up, pose in a certain way, wait for it to unlock, and then swipe to get to the homescreen.

However, Pixel 4 will turn on the face unlock sensors as you reach for the phone, recognizing that the user may want to unlock it. In case the software algorithms and unlock sensors recognize the user, the phone will open immediately as it is picked up, all in one motion.

Moreover, Google claims that Pixel 4's face unlock feature will work in almost any orientation, regardless of how you're holding the phone. Also, you'll be able to use it for secure payments and app authentication.

As far as the accuracy goes, Google says that the Pixel 4 “should be able to recognize you, and only you, without any fuss,” but that remains to be seen.

Pixel 4 face unlock feature is more secure than ever


One other important thing revealed by Google is how secure the face unlock feature really is. The search giant claims face unlock uses facial recognition technology that processes the images directly on the phone, and that the data obtained never leaves the Pixel 4. 


Furthermore, all images used for face unlock are not saved or shared with other Google services, instead, everything is stored in the phone's Titan M security chip. Moreover, all Soli sensor data that is processed on the Pixel 4 will not be saved or shared with other Google services.

Although both features revealed today are far from being new for the smartphone industry, it looks like Google's approach will make the difference. In theory, face unlock is a faster way to open your smartphone than the fingerprint sensor, but only if the technology works just like Google describes it in the blog post.

Google says the Pixel 4 will be officially introduced in fall, but we're expecting the phone to be available on the market at some point in October, so there's a lot of time that Google can use to unveil even more new features that will pack inside its upcoming flagship.

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60 Comments

3. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I have no idea what they want to do. But if it works just with photos and music player, it is pointless. I doubt anyone wants to be seen in public waving hands to control the phone. It is silly and embarrassing.

8. Be_Mine

Posts: 290; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Well, lucky for you. Because I'm pretty sure the phone will be touch screen and will have other ways of navigation and control settings. So, you'll not need to wave your hand around in public to control your phone when you don't want to.

9. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Just look at that ffs!!! This face ID sense and the way it works is just mind blowing. Then if we get into all the possible use cases then that'll just be nuts. This is a day one buy for me. Google is blowing it out of the waters with this one.. just wow

13. mackan84

Posts: 553; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

I think it will be another “3D Touch” but it’s google and they always have something fun going on and could probably think of something corny but fun with that tech, besides the best selfies in the smartphone world.

39. sgodsell

Posts: 7443; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

iPhone users never get it. Android is about choice, and even that Android slogan. Be together, not the same. Apple is all about our way or highway.

48. mackan84

Posts: 553; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

So stupid. It’s a phone, not a lifestyle. And do you know how most people show off their different style/attitude with their phone. With a damn case...

59. sgodsell

Posts: 7443; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The so stupid is you by saying it's another "3D touch" but it's Google. Soli is anything but 3D touch. 3D touch was built into Apple's iPhones and only Apples iPhones. It can sense how hard you press, and that was that. This Soli radar sensor can be used to read finger gestures or hand gestures. So you could twist your fingers in front of the sensor to pretend your adjusting the volume. And Android with the Soli sensor could actually adjust the volume. Or you could make a gesture to adjust a slider. Even scroll a webpage. So I wouldn't have brought up a dead technology like Apple's crappy 3D touch. Which Apple themselves is killing off.

15. TBomb

Posts: 1568; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Answer/Dismiss a call, snoozing alarms, turn on the display for a quick lock screen preview, back-button-esque function, there's a lot of things that you can do with it.

21. Mrmark

Posts: 400; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

I doubt people will voice to text any messages in public .... That's just silly . I doubt people will want to walk and text at the same time that's just silly . And I also doubt people will want to walk around with the biggest over the ear cans on there head in public that's just silly .

64. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

If you would have looked into project Soli, you would have known it's more than that. Also, all people use their phones in private areas as well, so no need to feel embarrassed then. Besides people walk in public with selfie sticks and snapping their food in restaurants. Pretty sure people don't care about silly or embarrassing. I for one would love to be able to use air gestures while riding my bike.

4. j_grouchy

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 08, 2016

Waiting for the first complaints about the ginormous camera punch-outs in the screen...

5. Carlitos

Posts: 673; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Had Samsung not been shamed for using touchless control back in the s3/s4 days, Technigy like this could have been mature and mainstream by now. Now it won't be labeled as a "gimmick"

6. Awalker

Posts: 1982; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

If that's all it does then it is gimmicky.

7. Carlitos

Posts: 673; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Technology. Truly miss air gestures now

30. carvation

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 29, 2019

i was just about to post this, most of the stuff coming from google dealing with android is coming from tech that samsung has developed already

31. BuffaloSouce unregistered

Just because Samsung developed a few things doesn't mean they perfected it...

52. sgodsell

Posts: 7443; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Samsung used the front facing camera to look at and get the air gestures. This is a dedicated radar sensor designed to capture hand and finger gestures. Although the end results might be the similar, however getting to those results couldn't be more different.

58. Carlitos

Posts: 673; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

S4 actually had an entire sensor dedicated for gestures. It would turn red when in use

60. sgodsell

Posts: 7443; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It used a camera. I know, I had an S4. This is a dedicated radar sensor. Used for finger and hand gestures.

65. Carlitos

Posts: 673; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

False. It had sensors specifically for that. Not the camera. Check Samsung's own website. https://www.samsung.com/hk_en/support/mobile-devices/what-is-the-air-gesture-feature-and-how-do-i-use-the-air-gesture-feature/

66. Carlitos

Posts: 673; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

https://youtu.be/I6vi8SkzzD8 In this video you can see the sensor light up around 1min:53sec. This technology would have already matured and been ridiculous useful had it not been for tech sites such as this one shaming the technology just because personally they had little use for it

10. Gadgetex

Posts: 199; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

Will it finally allow users to save contacts/data/images to smartphone instead of forcing users to save to Google/Gmail cloud server?

53. sgodsell

Posts: 7443; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You do know that there is a lot more than one contacts apps, and a lot more email apps, and even different image apps than just Google's on the app store.

11. kevv2288

Posts: 300; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

Why are you still showing the pictures with the hole punch camera??

12. HumbleJ06

Posts: 98; Member since: Aug 10, 2015

Google is improving on technology that is already in use. Anytime you can make a function faster, smarter, and more secure that's a win.

14. ahmadkun

Posts: 613; Member since: May 02, 2016

Ok, I have to say they got my attention now

16. TBomb

Posts: 1568; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

So it appears the PIxel 4 will have same bezels as an iPhone XS if the XS didn't have the two notch pieces on both sides. At least that's what I gathered from the commercial

17. surethom

Posts: 1718; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Seems more like a gimmick to skip songs virtually noone would use it

20. TBomb

Posts: 1568; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I see this being super useful for people who are working with their hands... cooking and your hands are in a pile of dough, painting and your hands are orange and blue. Point your finger while in youtube to scroll through the video to a certain time. Wave to go to the next page in the cookbook.

18. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Glad they wont have the design of the first pic of the article. It would be the ugliest phone by far in the history. Trophy currently belong to Pixel 3XL, Essential , s10 trinity and iphone X (all its 1000000 copies as well)

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