Facial recognition may be coming to Android Pay, though with limited applications, according to a new report from 9to5Google.
The speculation is based on a breakdown of the line-by-line code underlying a new software update for Android Pay. Some of the code appears to pertain to future functionality of the app under the umbrella of what’s called “Visual ID”. The system entails the identification of a given Android Pay user via facial recognition. This would occur via cameras installed at retail outlets, and the system seems designed only for the authentication of customers for rewards and loyalty programs within those stores.
As 9to5Google notes, the code appears in the wake of the Hands Free pilot program, which Google recently shut down. That system used facial recognition, along with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals, to verify Android Pay payments.
While Google and rivals like Samsung are evidently reluctant to enable facial recognition for payment authentication, the companies appear to be moving in that direction; if Visual ID is ever activated – which is not a guarantee, despite the presence of the code – it will be another step in that direction.