Google wins patent on face-to-unlock feature

The company's patent describes a method by which a camera is used to help users unlock a device and access personal information.

Your face just helped Google win a patent.

The search giant yesterday was awarded a patent, called "Login to a computing device based on facial recognition," that describes a technology for identifying a person's face and delivering to that person full access to personal information on a device.

In order for the technology to work, Google's patent requires a camera that can identify a person's face. If that face matches a "predetermined identity," then the person is logged into the respective device. If multiple people want to access a computer, the next person would get in front of the camera, and the device's software would automatically transition to the new user's profile.

If the technology sounds familiar, it's because face-to-unlock is already available in the wild. The Samsung Galaxy S3 , for example, has a face unlock application. Samsung's Galaxy Nexus also comes with the feature and allows people to snap a picture of themselves to unlock their smartphone.

Interestingly, Apple last year filed for a patent related to facial recognition similar to what Google is describing in its own service . That technology would recognize a person's face and use that as the authentication needed to access user profiles or other important information.

It's not clear how Google's patent might impact Apple's application, but given the current state of patent litigation, don't discount a possible battle.

(Via Engadget)

 

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