Google's latest Pixel phones feature not as good as Apple's face ID

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Google's latest Pixel phones feature not as good as Apple's face ID

Brian Rakowski, Google Vice President of Product Management, speaks at the launch of the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro phones in New York on October 6, 2022. Three former employees at Alphabet Inc, who were familiar with the efforts, said THOMAS URBAIN AFP Facial recognition returned to the latest Google Pixel phones on Thursday after a short hiatus due to challenges on cost and performance.

The feature on the Pixel 7 is not as good as Apple Inc's Face ID unlocking mechanism, as it can struggle in low light and is more vulnerable to being spoofed. Google has said that it is not secure enough to allow signing into apps or making payments.

The return came after Google became stricter about launching products with facial recognition, in part due to questions about its performance on darker skin. One of the sources said that the company took time to review its approach to training and testing facial recognition since the Pixel launched in 2019, and it has the capability that was launched in 2019.

Google hasn't commented on several specific questions about its history with face unlock. It said that we are doing it a little differently thanks to advanced machine learning models for face recognition, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro feature Face Unlock. It said that we achieved good facial accuracy performance with the front-facing camera. The pursuit of Face unlock for Android phones spans a decade, but it came under greater pressure when Apple released Face ID in September 2017, according to sources.

One of the sources said that Google was unable to come up with a system that performed quickly and was impervious to spoofing, or the use of photos or hyperrealistic costumes to fool someone else's phone into unlocking. Engineers toyed with the need to have a smile or a blink to combat spoofing, but it was awkward and slow, the source said.

Another source stated that Google executives signed off on a similar technology after the arrival of Apple's Face ID, which uses a depth-sensing and infrared camera called TrueDepth to map a face. In the year 2019 Google's Pixel 4, it called its infrared depth-sensing setup uDepth.

It performed well, including in dark conditions, with no more than a 1 in 50,000 chance that it would unlock a phone for an unauthorized face, according to Google.

While Apple sells 240 million iPhones each year, Google has topped out at just a few million, preventing it from buying parts at the volume discounts Apple does.

The Google Pixel 7 phone is displayed at its launch in New York on October 6, 2022. The sources said that Google dropped uDepth in the Pixel 5 in 2020 due to costs.

Two sources said that Face masking gave Google reason to exclude the feature from last year's Pixel 6 and additional research time because of the Pandemic.

Face unlocking on the new phones relies on a typical front camera. It can't unlock apps and payments because Google says spoofing chances - such as holding up a user's photo - are greater than 20 percent, above the 7 percent threshold it requires to be considered most secure. A fingerprint unlock is an alternative to low light and sunglasses, which can cause trouble, according to Google.

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