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Google ‘buys’ faces at 5 dollars to train your Face ID

With the launch of the next Pixel already on the horizon, Google strives to give value to the foreseeable large front edge. This, which may come with a specific motion sensor and so far not used in any device, is prepared perhaps to bring a facial recognition that is finally worth it.

This is, at least, what emerges from the scene that some Google workers are playing in New York. As account ZDNet, Google is offering the equivalent of 5 dollars on Amazon or Starbucks discount cards in exchange for five minutes of interaction with a mysterious device. Meanwhile, information is collected from your face.

Collection of "data to improve the next generation of facial recognition for mobile unlocking"

According ZDNet, an acquaintance of the editing team was approached by these Google workers, who claimed "to be collecting data to improve the next generation of facial recognition for mobile unlocking." The respondent, an engineer named George, simply had to use the device in "selfie mode" and move your face to show it to the system from different angles.

The device with which this information was being collected had a great protective case around it. This is probably similar to those used by brands to preserve the design of their terminals before they are public, or even during the last prototyping phases.

The data and privacy of your face, for five dollars

George claims to have accessed by simple curiosity, since "he wanted to see" what "they asked him to do", after which he asked several questions to the supposed Google team taking the data. He says that they claimed to have teams collecting data in several cities for this same method.

This engineer assumes that Google "use the data to train a neural network to be able to recognize what a face is" on a generic level, to later teach "to your own phone how is your own face." In the style of Face ID, but more precise.

The interviewee states that, although he does not read the specifications completely, he is not really worried about the privacy associated with this transfer of image rights:

"Google basically already has all my life on its servers. And eliminating Google from my life is not going to happen from a practical point of view. I really don't care about data privacy because I think everything is an illusion."

New sensors: Soli?

The method by which Google is collecting this type of data, calling for the cessation of the data and collecting them physically and one by one is striking. This is probably because they use a new layer of sensors using Face ID operation, with its own sensors, or perhaps with the expected Project Soli on board, whose data cannot be obtained remotely and with a generic device.

If so, Google would probably have already taken advantage of public videos on YouTube or Google Photos itself, as it did with the Mannequin Challenge data, the viral challenge that flooded the networks in 2016.

Whatever the method, it seems that Google is trying to meet the challenge of implementing a more robust facial unlocking system, and this probably comes with the relief of the Pixels 3. These devices are expected towards the end of the year, around October, coinciding with the final version of Android Q.