Google confirms Face Unlock and Soli gestures for the Pixel 4
Back in June, Google shocked the tech world by bluntly sharing the design of the Pixel 4 on Twitter. Today, Google took it a step further by revealing some features that have been in the rumor mill for a while. The phone will indeed have Face Unlock and Soli gestures.
First up is “Motion Sense,” a feature powered by Soli, which has been developed by the ATAP team. We’ve heard about the Pixel 4 having some sort of motion-sensing air gestures and this is exactly that. The sensor is located at the top of the Pixel 4 and it senses small motions around the device. Combined with software algorithms, it can recognize specific gestures. You’ll be able to use gestures to skip songs, snooze alarms, silence phone calls, and more. Google says the feature will be limited to “select Pixel countries” likely due to regulatory hurdles involved with getting approval for the radar frequencies used by Soli.
Face Unlock is next up. It’s been long-rumored that the Pixel line would adopt a more secure method of Face Unlock, similar to the iPhone. Google is engineering Face Unlock on the Pixel 4 a little differently than other phones. You won’t be required to lift the phone up and hold it to your face. The Soli hardware will enable the Face Unlock sensors when it recognizes your hand reaching for the phone. So it’s all ready to go before you even lift it up, and it can recognize your face and unlock the phone in one motion.
This new method of Face Unlock, unlike previous versions that have been in Android for a while, is secure enough to be used for mobile payments and app authentication. Face Unlock does all the facial recognition processing on the device so the image data never leaves your phone. Google is clear to state that the images used for Face Unlock and Soli sensor data are never shared or saved with other Google services. The data is stored in the Pixel’s Titan M security chip.
One last thing to note about the image above shared by Google: there is no wide-angle selfie camera. The Pixel 4 was expected to have dual front-facing cameras like the Pixel 3, but it looks like there wasn’t room along with all of the Face Unlock and Soli hardware.