Google says Face Unlock will not work with a picture

Google says Face Unlock will not work with a picture
The new Face Unlock feature for Ice Cream Sandwich is one of the more intriguing features that will be available, we don't know a lot about how it exactly is going to work. Obviously, it would have helped if the demo at the Galaxy Nexus announcement had actually worked, but since we don't have that, we have to just guess. 

The Cyanogen lead developer Koush tweeted that it seemed like it would be easy enough to game the system by using a photograph to hack into someone's phone. It's a valid worry, but also one that shows a pretty small amount of faith in the Google engineers. That fear has been put to rest by Android-focused Developer Advocate Tim Bray, who has said that a photo will not be enough to unlock your phone. 

Now, the big question is in how long Face Unlock will take to get you into your phone. Face Unlock sounds great, and Google is known for pushing its products to be fast, but Face Unlock needs to be very fast to keep users content. 

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52 Comments

1. Snapdude

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

it works :)

3. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Do I have to smile? What if I'm just an angry person?

19. remyrz

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 28, 2010

..... lol

41. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

isnt this just a copy of what nokia demoed and put on symbian? if it is not just let me know but i could have sworn i say it for symbian...

43. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Google has being woking on this for quite some time ,how old is the Nokia feature ?

2. dhruba

Posts: 28; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

as the demo in the last video showed. Its indeed fast

8. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I like to see real world usage rather than controlled demos anyway.

20. PotDragon

Posts: 214; Member since: Jul 22, 2011

Yet...iphonearena already posted a "review" of ICS. Now we are forced to read about your "guess" as to how it operates. Surely you have hands on experience, right? No one with a shred of ethics would "review" an OS they had never used...would they? Can't "review" an event you did not attend either ( how is parking in Hong Kong, Michael? )...but no one would ever be so small minded as to attempt that...right?

32. Hallucinator

Posts: 390; Member since: May 24, 2010

Your kind of a d**k

34. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

We actually haven't posted any "review" of ICS. We have only posted previews of features to expect. I'd say a full video feed of an event gives enough to review. It seems you would agree since you've found enough about me to judge without having met me or had a conversation with me.

37. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

OOOoooo! sit down PotDragon! xD

45. GoodFella

Posts: 112; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Michael Heller, them are fightin' words! Feels good to do a little of that once in a while, eh? :)

47. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I have no intention of starting a fight, but I will certainly defend myself and this website from anyone slinging mud unjustly (and hypocritically in this case).

48. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

Michael goes hard at representing for his site yo! that's a total G right there. ;D

4. sake2mel

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

What about a video?

5. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I'm guessing there needs to be some sort of depth, so a video or photo won't work. Maybe a photorealistic mask though...

9. Snapdude

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

IR sensor for depth perception, simlar to the microsoft xbox kinect system

22. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Does the Nexus have an IR sensor? Do ANY phones have this? If not, what's to stop a photo from working? Taking in ambient light and judging if the face is receiving the correct "shine" on their forehead? Does it require you move your mouth or eyes for validation? Could I just take a blown up photo of the person, cut out a hole for the mouth and eyes, then smile a cheesy grin and have access into my bud's Nexus?

35. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Proximity sensor is IR based, isn't it? Could the range on that help with Face Unlock?

39. Snapdude

Posts: 128; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

indeed the prox sensor is usually IR based so in theory yes if they bumped up the specs of the prox sensor it could double as an IR sensor to aid in facial recognition

10. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i assume it has some way of "measuring" distances from eyes to nose n mouth n such and looking for slight variations. Im not really up on this kinda tech, so its just a guess.. but it sounds good :)

51. Diablo2424

Posts: 30; Member since: Jun 29, 2011

I'm not sure about a video, but my friend and I were talking about using a photo and determined the technology probably works on micro-movements that all human beings would do. For example noone can stay %100 completely still, you are always moving, and so is your facial expression, it's never %100 still, so it probably uses these micro-movements to determine if it's really your face trying to unlock the phone. A video might possibly be able to fool this system, however that video would have to be VERY clear, no glare on the screen it's being played back on, same depth (as mentioned below) and same facial expression. That's a pretty serious video you'd be requesting of someone, lol. Either way, we just have to wait until it's released to see! :-)

6. WirelessCon

Posts: 311; Member since: May 11, 2010

What about a 3D picture/video.

23. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

You would need 2 lenses to read that it is indeed 3D. So 2 phones out of all Androids would be able to do this (not Nexus). Side note, say you have 2 EVO 3Ds...play a 3D video on device A, record 3D video on device B of the 3D playback on device A...Will the video look 3D on device B?

7. WirelessCon

Posts: 311; Member since: May 11, 2010

What about a life-cast of the face?

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

what if we just chopped the head off and wiggled the mouth infront of the camera?

14. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

LOL!!

15. tech-head

Posts: 133; Member since: Sep 02, 2011

LMFAO

33. Hallucinator

Posts: 390; Member since: May 24, 2010

I tried that with the beta and it worked fine

12. bossmt_2

Posts: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 2009

If someone goes through the effort to make a perfect 3D replica of your face, they deserve to unlock your phone. On that note, I'd assume there's a slew of reasons a picture wouldn't work, from the lighting not being proper, to curving of the picture, reflection off the picture, who knows. Aside from a picture of you, I don't think any other way of hacking it would be highly practical

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