Ever since Apple introduced FaceID on the iPhone and Google attempted to follow along with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 Pro, I’ve been waiting for this feature to make a comeback on Google’s phones. The Pixel 4 iteration worked fine, but no developers got on board, so there were no apps outside of Google’s ecosystem that could leverage the sensors in the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 Pro.
But things have changed since then and with Android 10’s Biometric Manager, a clear path was cut to make all biometric identifiers work together across all applications that support it. So, instead of your app having to decide to work with Face Unlock or fingerprint scanners, it can simply tie into the Biometric Manager and let the included phone hardware decide. Though not many Android devices have the hardware to provide a truly secure face unlock, the Biometric Manager paved the way for things to be much simpler once one did.
And now that phone is here and I totally missed it! The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro both come with the necessary front facing camera hardware and AI smarts to create a Face Unlock system that can work with the most-secure elements on your phone; including your banking apps and even Google Wallet.
Google Tensor G3 works with the Titan M2 security chip to protect personal information and make your Pixel more resilient to sophisticated attacks. And now, Face Unlock on Pixel 8 meets the highest Android biometric class, allowing you to access compatible banking and payment apps like Google Wallet.The Keyword
As I said last year in a post about the Pixel team working on Face Unlock for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, I knew if Google is going to introduce Face Unlock, they’ll be the ones to fully leverage AI and ML to make it happen. While I don’t know the ins-and-outs of how that all works, I felt confident that Google would be the company to use a software solution to solve a clunky hardware problem. And now they’ve done just that!
Assuming it works as described, I’ll be leveraging Face Unlock on the Pixel 8 Pro moving forward and will only utilize the fingerprint scanner when absolutely necessary. This is a massive update and a huge breakthrough that I frankly think Google should have spent a bit of time on in the keynote. While I watched the entire thing, I suppose I could have simply missed it if they did mention it; but I doubt I’d have missed a larger section on this if it was presented.
Either way, Google deserves some real credit for pulling this off and I’d reckon there are tons of phone makers lining up to utilize this feature if Google decides to let it escape the Pixel-only confines in the future. I’ve hoped for years that they would solve this issue via software, and to see it so elegantly done makes me very happy to get to use it in the near future. Face Unlock as an idea is fantastic and useful, but not at the expense of goofy notches and ridiculous foreheads on our phones. Now we can have the best of both worlds, and I think that deserves some serious attention.