Google rebrands Smart Lock as Pixel Presence for many in Android Q beta 4
Smart Lock is a feature in Google Play Services that helps you quickly unlock your phone by detecting whether the phone is on you (on-body detection), whether the phone is in a trusted location (trusted places), whether the phone is connected to a trusted Bluetooth accessory (trusted devices), whether the phone recognizes your face (trusted face), or whether the phone recognizes your voice (voice match.) It’s been around for years, though it’s grown less important as devices have received more secure authentication methods. Google has even removed access to some of these unlocking methods on some devices because of how insecure and outdated they are. However, Google may no longer be neglecting this old feature as the release of Android Q beta 4 hints that Google is rebranding the service as “Pixel Presence.”
After the beta rolled out, a user on Twitter and a user on Reddit noticed that the usual unlocked with “Smart Lock” text at the bottom of the lock screen was instead telling them their phones were unlocked with “Pixel Presence.”
Looking for these strings in an Android Q beta 4 firmware dump, I discovered that the “keyguard_indication_trust_unlocked” string in SystemUIGoogle, which previously mentioned “Smart Lock,” was updated to mention “Pixel Presence” in many different locales. Apart from the name change, there doesn’t seem to be any new functionality. The name change hasn’t propagated to the Smart Lock settings either, but that’s probably because we’re missing a Google Play Services update. We don’t know if additional features will be added to the Smart Lock suite, but I would be surprised if only its name was changed because adding the Pixel branding suggests that Google is giving it proper attention once again. We’ll keep an eye out on this feature to see if it becomes something more than just a simple rebranding.