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Google hopes that funny faces may one day banish passwords for ever


googleface Google hopes that funny faces may one day banish passwords for ever

The mighty Google this week filed a patent for securing a mobile device using facial recognition technology. The idea is for the user to set up a ‘facial landmark‘, for example sticking their tongue out or wrinkling their nose, after which they can unlock their device by repeating the ‘faceword’.

googleface4 Google hopes that funny faces may one day banish passwords for ever

If the idea sounds somewhat implausible, it may help to remember that pattern recognition in the form of striping on a screen is already hugely popular on many mobile phones, precisely because users find it very difficult to remember complex passwords or even PIN numbers. According to Bill Walker from security analysts QA, over half of men and women have a password on their device… “but almost a fifth (19 percent) of men and almost a quarter of women (24 percent) admit to writing that password down somewhere so they don’t forget it – defeating the whole objective.”

googleface2 Google hopes that funny faces may one day banish passwords for ever

We have to say, the idea of people standing around grimacing at their phones or worse could make life unbearable on a crowded commute. It’s bad enough people talking loudly or humming tunelessly with their music, but to add in horrible faces could just about tip us over into outright Luddism. In the meantime, enjoy yourself with Google Patent No 8,457,367.

googleface3

‘The method of claim 1, wherein determining whether a sufficient similarity exists between the first image and the second image to indicate a consistent user identity further comprises at least one of: 1) performing facial recognition analysis on both of the first image and the second image, and 2) comparing one or more characteristics of the first image to one or more corresponding characteristics of the second image, and 3) determining a similarity score based on the comparison, wherein the sufficient similarity is determined to exist when the similarity score exceeds a similarity score threshold.’

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.



  • darrow

    With 3D printers it won’t be long before anyone can print masks that could fool any recognition software. Then all you would have to do is watch your victim use their device to defeat it.

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