Home / Techie / Google’s Proposed Facial Gestures Unlock Feature for Android Phones and Tablets- Patent Pending Approval

Google’s Proposed Facial Gestures Unlock Feature for Android Phones and Tablets- Patent Pending Approval

Google has devised a unique way of unlocking Android based phones and tablets, in which the users will have the option to unlock their devices by making facial gestures.

For now, the patent is pending approval but the new feature might soon be a reality.

Google Android Face Unlock Feature


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This, I am sure, comes as welcome news for all forgetful people like me who forget their device unlock code far too often and then have to shell out some money to get it ‘unlocked’. But then can’t keep the device unlocked as well because of all the information stored therein which they might not want to share with all those who might have access to their cell phones or android based tablets.

That could include passwords stored in the system, email Inbox, Facebook wall or silly jokes and images shared with friends.

Google had earlier introduced Face Unlock Feature some time back, wherein the users would simply have to upload a couple of their images and store them in their device. The users’ pictures had to match the ones stored inside the system to get access to the Android device.

The Face Unlock System, which first came up for Android 4.0 in devices working on Android Ice Cream Sandwich, was not as much of a hit as Google had wanted it to be.

With hackers always thinking one step ahead and coming up with a simple trick to outsmart the actual owner, it was found that the phones or tablets could be unlocked by anyone using the owners’ photographs. Easy indeed!!

The new Face Unlock in Android would work by requiring the owners to use facial gestures to get access to the device.

The new Android feature would now make use of a ‘Liveness Check’ in Jelly Bean wherein the users will be required to first blink at their cell phones or tablet, so that no one can use pictures of actual users to get to their data.

Owners might also use a series of facial expressions like poking out their tongue, winking at the phone or a wrinkle across the brow to get their devices to work.

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Google face unlock patent using facial gestures using facial gestures


The new system would work by comparing the images stored inside the device with the gestures made by the user at that point of time to see if there was any difference between the two.

The new Facial Unlock System has checks and measures which will make it virtually impossible for unauthorized people to get access to a device by using doctored images. These measure would include video streaming of the expressions used, the sequence of the series of movements made by him and also checking the angle at which the person’s face is tilted to the front camera.

Google Face Unlock patent adds facial expressions to Android security

“The idea here is that a hacker can fool a computer with a static image. But moving our faces in a very particular way is a unique marker that not even an impostor can fool. At least that’s the theory,” said Rebecca Greenfield of The Atlantic Wire, a US-based magazine that first broke this story.

Google has already applied for a patent for this unique facial unlock system patented, though it is still pending approval.

The pending patent explains how the devices will emit light beams of different colors or frequencies which would then have to match the users’ at the time of accessing the phone or tablet.

With Apple Inc. announcing Fingerprint Scans and Motorola asking users to watch out for Password Tattoos, Google had to come up with something. :D

So, if you see your CEO making silly faces into his phone or frowning into his table in the middle of a meeting or a hot babe winking at her cell phone in a jam packed lift in the near future, you need not think that the person concerned has lost it completely!!
The poor guy or gal might just be trying to get his device to work, you know. ;)

While the promised feature does indeed look interesting, only time will tell how successful or not the “Liveness Check” in the new proposed Facial Unlock System actually will be.



Info Courtesy: VentureBeat, Guardian News


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About Ambika Choudhary Mahajan

Hi, I am Ambika. A hands-on, stay at home mom (by choice) to two cheeky devils. I am a freelance writer and eBook author turned blogger. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to get regular updates.


  1. Google always comes up with something new, that’s why i love it :). This is another unique invention of google, Good luck google, keep your good work going !
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  2. Thanks for sharing ! Awesome post
    Wojtek recently posted…Węgiel i palce -Judith BraunMy Profile

  3. Interesting one.
    It will be a greatest innovation in security, if Google launches this feature.
    And It will be funny when the CEO makes his face crazy to unlock his phone in meetings :D
    Sriram recently posted…How to Compel your Visitors to Come Back to your BlogMy Profile

  4. These type of technological advances are quite stunning to me.

    When I see how people are developing tech, it is amazing.

    I saw on the news recently that Dominos pizza, I believe, is developing an unmanned drone to deliver pizza, instead of a person on motorbike or in a car.


    Thanks for sharing ;)

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  5. Seems interesting.. Thinking about facial gestures that will be used.. Nice info. Thanks for sharing.
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  6. It’s amazing how technology has come so far.
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  7. Great technology improvement!

    I read new information through your post Ambika :)

    Keep rocking by writing the interesting stuffs!
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  8. Hello Ambika,
    Google always comes up with new and great features that are mouth watering, so i wouldn’t surprise if they are coming out with something like this. Thanks for the tips and have a lovely week ahead my friend :)
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  9. Face recognition technology was used by many laptop top notch manufacturers but the biggest challenge with this technology is-

    1. The battery drains out really fast as you need camera powered on each time you want to unlock the screen.
    2. Few of the laptops reported system hanging issues when the face recognition is on and the user cannot power it off, it is frustrating as well as interferring to remember make your face recognition software service disabled.

    Many more to go but with smaller handhelds I am unsure how long it is going to sustain in case of emergency someone wants to call up and inform your near dear ones it will be impossible to connect without your face. Every technology comes with a set of its own disadvantages the point is how the users accommodate those disadvantages along with advantage.

    Cheers for this Great Post!
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  10. this is just an great post thanx for sharing bookamarked blog..
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