Android Q Code Suggests Google is Working on Face ID Competitor

When it comes to facial recognition technology on smartphone, it’s clear Apple is the leader of the pack. It’s all thanks to the company’s Face ID system which utilizes a Time of Flight sensor, an IR illuminator, a dot projector, and a variety of other sensors to securely identify your face. Now, though, it looks like the company might get a new competitor in this department: Google.

XDA-Developers has issued a report which details the publication’s efforts to tear apart the leaked Android Q build it obtained and find everything there is to know. In its efforts, XDA discovered multiple references to a new facial recognition system which will let users unlock their phone, authenticate payments, and more, actions that aren’t possible with Android’s standard “Trusted Face” feature.

<string name="security_settings_face_enroll_introduction_message">Use your face to unlock your phone, authorize purchases, or sign in to apps.</string>

XDA says it tried to trigger the setup screen for the upcoming face unlock feature, but it failed to do so. Part of the reason was that it was missing an important under-hood element, but it’s also due to the site trying to run the software on a Pixel 3 XL, a device that doesn’t have the necessary sensors for a secure facial recognition experience.

This is the first time we’re hearing anything about Google making a Face ID competitor. If the company were to do so, there’s a good chance it would make it to a future smartphone like the Pixel 4.

All of this being said, Google has yet to confirm whether it’s actually working on a hardware-based facial recognition system. This is a very early build of Android Q that XDA is tearing apart, and a lot of the groundwork that’s been included may be gone by the time the first developer build of the OS rolls out. So essentially, you’ll want to take this news with a grain of salt until more concrete evidence is discovered.